The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council gave five judgments today.   We have already posted on the important Gibraltar sexual orientation discrimination case of Nadine Rodriguez [2009] UKPC 52) – which is the only one which also has a press summary.  In addition, judgments were handed down in one appeal from Jamaica and three from Trinidad and Tobago .  

The case of Lowell Lawrence v Financial Services Commission [2009] UKPC 49 was an appeal from the Court of Appeal of Jamaica.  it concerned a penalty notice which the appellant contended was unlawful because it had been issued without him having an opportunity to be heard by an impartial tribunal in response to the allegations on which the notice was based.  It was subsequently discovered that the relevant statutory provisions had not been in force when the notice was issued and the Court had to consider the effect of a statute which sought to validate the actions of the Financial Services Commission.  Giving the judgment of the Board dismissing the appeal, Lord Clarke held that the notice had been validated by the statute and was not entitled to have the notice quashed.

The appeal in A-G of Trinidad and Tobago v Carmel Smith [2009]  UKPC 50 turned on a procedural issue concerning the proper parties to a constitutional motion in Trinidad & Tobago.  The proceedings were brought against the Attorney-General who contended that the proper party was the Statutory Authorities Service Commission (“SASC”) which was alleged to have discriminated against the claimant.   Lord Walker gave the judgment of the Board, allowing the appeal and holding that the SASC was the proper party as the Attorney-General only represented statutory bodiies which were deemd to be part of the State.

The case of Herman Ramass v Marilyn Bahaw-Nanan [2009] UKPC 51 concerned the operation of the Rent Restriction legislation in Trinidad and Tobago.  After considering the somewhat obscure history of the legislation, Lord Walker, giving the judgment of the Board, accepted the Court of Appeal’s conclusion that the appellant had been a statutory tenant but that his statutory tenancy had not been converted into a statutory 30 year lease.

In Johson and Balwant v A-G of Trinidad & Tobago [2009] UKPC 53, the appellants had brought constitutional motions seeking declaration that certain employment regulations which permitted the termination of married female police officers “on the grounds that her family obligations are affecting the efficient performance of her duties” unfairly discriminated against women.  In giving the Judgment of the Board Lord Rodger had no hesitation in holding that the regulations in question were discriminatory on the grounds of sex.  Nevertheless, as they were “existing law” at the time of the coming into force of the Constitution they were saved by section 6(1).   He concluded, however, by expressing the hope that the regulations would soon be removed as they were a “relic of a bygone age” (para 25).