LATT pays tribute to late retired CJ Clinton Bernard

Yes­ter­day, the Law As­so­ci­a­tion is­sued a state­ment pay­ing trib­ute to the late re­tired chief jus­tice Clin­ton Bernard who died on Oc­to­ber 26, af­ter ail­ing for some time.

Fol­low­ing is the state­ment.

 

The Law As­so­ci­a­tion of Trinidad and To­ba­go joins the ju­di­cia­ry and the coun­try in mourn­ing the death of re­tired chief jus­tice Mr Clin­ton Bernard TC.

The late re­tired chief jus­tice Clin­ton Bernard TC was born on the 31st day of May, 1931 in east Port-of-Spain Trinidad. Af­ter com­plet­ing his sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, he first per­formed a stint as a teacher be­fore pur­su­ing his le­gal ed­u­ca­tion in the UK where he was called to the bar in 1960 and joined the Inns of Court, Lon­don.

Up­on his re­turn to Trinidad in 1961, he was ad­mit­ted to prac­tise law and com­menced a dis­tin­guished le­gal ca­reer at the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al’s De­part­ment as a le­gal cadet.

He was ap­point­ed se­nior coun­sel in 1966 and a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court in 1977.

 

Be­fore that he act­ed as Deputy So­lic­i­tor Gen­er­al and Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions and was even­tu­al­ly ap­point­ed to the post of Deputy So­lic­i­tor Gen­er­al. He was ap­point­ed chief jus­tice on De­cem­ber 23, 1985 and held that post un­til he re­tired on May 31, 1995.

In 1987 he was the re­cip­i­ent of the high­est award, the Trin­i­ty Cross, for his con­tri­bu­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of T&T.

Dur­ing his tenure at the Supreme Court the late re­tired chief jus­tice Bernard, TC presided over a num­ber of cas­es that en­hanced the le­gal land­scape which earned him the rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing an em­i­nent ju­rist and dis­tin­guished judge.

The late re­tired chief jus­tice Bernard was known to pos­sess a re­mark­able ju­di­cial tem­pera­ment and en­sured the fair and just dis­pen­sa­tion of jus­tice. He is al­so wide­ly known for ad­vo­cat­ing for im­proved pen­sion ben­e­fits for re­tired judges and in Au­gust, 2018 he launched his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Be­yond the Bridge.

The tremen­dous pub­lic out­pour­ing of con­do­lences on his pass­ing is no sur­prise as he was a fierce ad­vo­cate for jus­tice and had the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice and the well-be­ing of oth­ers at heart.

The late re­tired chief jus­tice Bernard will al­so be re­mem­bered for his sage words at the Cer­e­mo­ni­al Open­ing of the Law Term of the Supreme Court of T&T on Fri­day Oc­to­ber 3, 1986 when he stat­ed. “I would like to re­mind the coun­try of the im­por­tance of the Ju­di­cia­ry in our democ­ra­cy.

It is a sep­a­rate or­gan of the State and an in­de­pen­dent in­sti­tu­tion un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion. It is in the in­ter­est and wel­fare of our democ­ra­cy that this is so and that it should con­tin­ue to be that way and, above all, ap­pear to be that way.

Due re­spect and re­gard for the In­sti­tu­tion in all its forms and by all and sundry is a sine qua non of and the guar­an­tee for a peace­ful and healthy democ­ra­cy. Let us be clear about this in our minds: the Ju­di­cia­ry is the medi­um for safe­guard­ing and pre­serv­ing our democ­ra­cy.

His­to­ry records that few, if any, de­vel­oped or de­vel­op­ing so­ci­eties that have re­neged in this re­gard have sur­vived as a democ­ra­cy as we know it to be.”

The le­gal pro­fes­sion and by ex­ten­sion T&T has lost a great ju­rist and he will in­deed be sore­ly missed by the le­gal fra­ter­ni­ty.

The Law As­so­ci­a­tion of T&T ex­tends its deep­est con­do­lences to the friends and fam­i­ly of the late re­tired chief jus­tice Clin­ton Bernard, TC and hopes that his lega­cy serves as a bea­con for oth­ers to fol­low. May he rest in peace.

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