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All women confirmed to lead Belizean Judiciary

Posted: Friday, December 2, 2022. 6:58 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government has announced that Governor-General Dame Froyla Tzalam swore in three members of the Judiciary – Chief Justice Louise Esther Blenman, Justice of Appeal Minnet Hafiz-Bertram and Justice Michelle Arana – to continue as Chief Justice in the case of the former and to be President and Justice of the Court of Appeal in the case of the two latter.

Chief Justice Blenman was initially sworn in as the new Chief Justice on September 2, 2022, making her the last Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature of Belize. However, due to the recent passing of the Senior Courts Bill, which saw the restructuring of the Office of the Chief Justice, she was sworn in for a second time to assume her new role as the judicial leader for both the Supreme Court (High Court) and the Court of Appeal.

Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram was officially sworn in as the President of the Court of Appeal. She had been Acting President since December 2020 after the retirement of Justice Manuel Sosa as President.

Former Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana has now assumed the post of Justice of the Court of Appeal. Prior to her elevation to the Court of Appeal, Justice Arana served as Acting Chief Justice from April 2020 until the recent appointment of Chief Justice Blenman, and was previously Belize’s first female Supreme Court Justice.

The appointments mean that all of the leading judicial and legal offices, including those of Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions, are currently filled by women.

The High Court is presently looking to fill other vacant posts.

 

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