Queen’s Counsel wants move away from Privy Council

Queen's Counsel Privy Council

Queen’s Counsel wants move away from Privy Council

Queen’s Counsel Hugh Small has a burning desire for Jamaica to do away with the United Kingdom-based Privy Council as its final appellate court.

Yesterday, as he prepared to relocate from St Elizabeth to the Corporate Area, he set ablaze three judicial wigs regarded as symbols of the colonial past.

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One of the wigs belonged to his late father, Senior Puisne Judge Ronald Small.

Another belonged to him, but he could not immediately recall the origin of the third wig.

Small said for various reasons, the wigs were no longer of any symbolic or sentimental value to him.

“It is time for us to be on our own, the only reason we wore wigs was because we were part of the British Empire,” he told The Gleaner.

Small was called to the Jamaican Bar in 1963 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1975.

He also served as a judge in The Bahamas.

Jamaican judges and attorneys-at-law no longer wear wigs.

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Small said the wearing of wigs which came out of 14th century Europe was not something black people, damaged by the colonial empire, should keep.

He is pressing for Jamaica to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) its final appellate court.

“We established and accepted the court and I think it is time for the government and the opposition to stop shadow boxing because what they are doing is shadow boxing,” he said, adding that a referendum is not needed to make the change.

Small said to keep the Privy Council is to extend the relationship with the British Monarchy.

“They are indelibly stained now and I am speaking of the royal family,” he said.

The CCJ has proven to be a contentious issue between Jamaica’s two political parties.

In 2005, the Patterson administration attempted to adopt the CCJ as Jamaica’s final appellate court by ordinary legislation. However, that bid was derailed after the court ruled that a special majority was needed to amend that aspect of the Constitution.

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A subsequent attempt in 2015 was also aborted as the then Simpson Miller Government did not receive the support of one opposition member to pass the legislation.

Attorney burns judicial wigs, calls for removal of Privy Council as final court  Jamaica Gleaner

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Dean Nestor

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