NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Bar Association President Kahlil Parker today commended the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) for publicly advertising vacant judicial posts.
In a statement, Parker said the move “ought to inform” the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) regarding the appointment of justices of appeal.
“The Bahamas Bar Association welcomes and applauds the decision of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, led by Chief Justice the Honourable Sir Brian Moree, QC, on its decision to publicly advertise and invite applications for vacant judicial posts,” he said.
“The commission and chief justice have laudably heeded the Bar Association’s public calls for a national commitment to ensuring meritocracy, transparency, and due process in the appointment of all judges and judicial and legal officers.
“The decision to publicly embrace an open, meritocratic, transparent, and fair judicial appointment process represents a significant advancement of our national commitment to the Rule of Law and ensuring continued and increased public confidence in our national institutions.
“The Bahamas Bar Association acknowledges that although this decision represents fundamental constitutional progress, we must remain vigilant and continue to safeguard and develop our judiciary and preserve the Rule of Law.
“The Commission’s decision, as reflected by the public invitation for applications to fill vacant judicial posts, ought properly to inform the Office of the Prime Minister in its approach to the appointment of justices of appeal, which equally requires an open, meritocratic, transparent and fair process.”
The BBA had previously renewed calls for an open, fair, transparent and meritocratic system of judicial appointment, citing the government’s “continued failure” to demonstrate its commitment to the Rule of Law back in August, following the appointment of former Supreme Court Justice Carolita Bethel to the Court of Appeal.
Parker continued: “To ensure the independence of our judiciary, the path to the judicial and senior legal office must be open, fair, meritocratic, and equally accessible to all qualified candidates.
“The functional and operational independence of the judiciary is a constitutional principle upon which the Bar Association will continue to insist.”
The JLSC vacancy notice published reads: “The Judicial and Legal Service Commission invites applications for the position of justice of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas from suitably qualified persons.”
It specifies that applicants must be “a member of the Bar of The Bahamas who has practiced for a period of not less than 10 years, or a member of at least 10 years’ standing of any Bar in any Commonwealth country membership of which is a qualification for admission to practice as counsel and attorney in The Bahamas under the provisions of the Legal Profession Act, Ch. 64 of the 2000 Revised Statute Laws of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas”.
“The applicant must clearly state whether he/she is prepared to accept an appointment to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court in New Providence or Grand Bahama.”
Applicants may apply via the website of the Judiciary of The Bahamas at www.bahamasjudiciary.com by the closing date of December 11, it added.