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Appeals can now be expedited following referendum debacle

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2019. 9:13 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government was denied a chance to immediately appeal Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s decision to grant five People’s United Party area reps an injunction restraining them from holding the ICJ referendum on April 10th.

The Court of Appeal, by majority, refused to hear the matter because the mandatory 21 day notice period hadn’t passed as yet – so the Appeal Court didn’t have jurisdiction.

The Barrow administration got around it by passing a superseding act of legislation to the Referendum Act, and got a majority of the electorate to vote for it on May 8.

But according to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, they wanted to correct that deficiency for the future.

“It was the feeling at the Bar and the Government that for the future, there should be no limitation as to when the Court of Appeal can hear an appeal. That statute, that section does not exist in the CCJ legislation. The CCJ has no limitation as to when they can hear an appeal. You file an appeal this morning; they can hear it this afternoon. We could not find that limitation in England, and many Commonwealth countries. So, we decided that it was in the best interest of justice to amend the legislation to give the Court of Appeal the option to hear it early if they so choose. So, the Court of Appeal could still say, we will wait the 21 days because, what you’re asking us to hear early is not urgent, and important enough for us to hear early. So, it will still be within the discretion of the Court of Appeal to hear the matter early, but at least, they will have the legislation that gives them the power, to decide if they want to hear it early.”

A litigant, Peyrefitte told us, would include a notice of expedited appeal along with the standard paperwork and a hearing would be scheduled.

The Attorney General stressed that this amendment does not force the Court of Appeal into expediting each and every appeal case. It merely gives them the jurisdiction and authority to do so, which they can disregard, if they don’t think that the appeal needs urgent attention.


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