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Civil war: Bar Association vs. Chief Justice

Posted: Saturday, July 22, 2017. 11:16 am CST.


By BBN Staff: Frustrated with a backlog of cases spanning over two years, the Bar Association of Belize is considering either asking Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to willingly resign, or using the system to force him out.

Channel 7 reported that it received leaked documents, detailing the Bar’s frustration, and how the association was considering approaching the situation. The document explained that the CJ had failed to deliver around 30 pending judgments, spanning a year and a half.

“The delay, therefore, needs to be justified by the Court. It would appear that the only explanation which could be provided would relate to administrative inefficiencies or a lack of resources; reasons which the courts have consistently considered insufficient to excuse such inordinate delay,” the Bar said.

The bar, in an effort to spur the CJ on, wrote him twice over the issue: once in 2016, where the CJ apologized and promised to do better; and another this year, where he promised to use his two-month vacation to work on the judgments. However, the association did not seem convinced, and prepared a list of options for addressing the issue, that its members would vote on at their annual general meeting held last night.

Apart from having the CJ removed, they also proposed a constitutional motion seeking court declarations and injunctions to the effect that the delays amount to a breach of the constitutional rights of the litigants.

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