ADDRESS OF THE HON. CHIEF JUSTICE, SIR ISAAC HYATALI, T.C.
AT THE OPENING OF THE LAW TERM ON 3 OCTOBER, 1978
MR. ATTORNEY, ETC
My brothers and I are grateful for the generous response you have made to our invitation, to assist us in formally inaugurating the law term today, which is the 17th since we became an independent nation in 1962.
PRACTICE OF REVIEWING WORK OF THE COURTS It was the late Sir Hugh Wooding of revered memory, the first Chief Justice of our nation, who started the practice at the opening of the law term of reviewing the work done by the Courts in the previous year, drawing attention to the state of the lists and proposing measures for the improvement of the machinery of justice.
1963 LAW TERM Speaking at the opening of the Law Term in 1963, he referred to the “considerable backlog of cases congesting the lists” when he assumed his duties as Chief Justice on 31 August, 1962, the performance of the Judges during the previous law term and, made his first plea for a new Court and an improved legal profession when he said, inter alia, that –
“the bystander will not be impressed with the Law’s majesty if it labours in a mews, if its dignities are absent, if its administrators are undistinguished or if its practitioners are unethical.”
1964 LAW TERM At opening of the law term in 1964, he referred again to the backlog of cases, and after revealing a jump in the criminal figures, he said:
“Alarming as these figures are, I must caution against the trend towards panic. Admittedly there is a substantial increase in the volume of crime. But let us not be parochial. We need to rid ourselves of the assumption that this is a phenomenon peculiar to Trinidad. It is not – indeed it is universal.”