Appointments To The Judiciary
Sections 102 and 104 of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago respectively outline the procedures by which judicial officers are to be appointed. The Chief Justice is appointed by the President after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The Chief Justice, as Head of the Judiciary, occupies the third highest office in Trinidad and Tobago. By virtue of his position as Chief Justice, he is also President of the Court of Appeal, an ex-officio Judge of the High Court, and Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC).
Under the Constitution, the JLSC is charged with the task of appointing Justices of Appeal, High Court Judges, Masters of the High Court, Magistrates, Registrars of the Supreme Court, and the Administrative Secretary to the Chief Justice, all of whom are judicial officers.
Five persons comprise the JLSC including the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, one person who was a Judge, and two persons with legal qualifications. Both the Chief Justice and the Chairman of the Public Service Commission are ex-officio members.
The present members of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission are:
The Honourable Chief Justice
Mr. Justice Ivor Archie (ex-officio member)
Mr. Christopher Thomas, Chairman of the Public Services Commission (ex-officio member)
Justice Roger Hamel Smith
Justice Annestine Sealey
Mr David Patrick
To qualify for appointment as a High Court Judge, a candidate should have at least ten years’ standing as an Attorney at Law. High Court Judges who have sat on the Bench for at least three years and Attorneys at Law of at least 15 years standing are eligible for appointment to the Court of Appeal. Candidates for appointment as Masters of the High Court must have a minimum of seven years standing as an Attorney at Law, while candidates for the Magistracy must possess at least five years standing as an Attorney at Law.