Thursday, April 18, 2024

Chief Justice slams law at UWI


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The Chief Justice has lambasted the law programme at the University of the West Indies (UWI), saying it was suffering from “intellectual attrition” and was only interested in “getting people over the bar”.

He has called for those at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago to “audit” the content of the LLBs (law degrees) coming in and applicants with “soft options” should be sent back to do other courses.

“If we’re serious, that is what we will have to do, but if we want to be the laughing stock we will continue on the path,” Chief Justice Sir Patterson Cheltenham declared yesterday.

“I, as Chief Justice, have to have a hard-nosed approach to what is happening up on the Hill and what I am seeing deeply troubles me because it troubles me for the future of my country.”

He was speaking in the Court of Appeal, as King’s Counsel Leslie Haynes, Larry Smith and Sir Elliott Mottley, along with Deputy Solicitor General Marsha Lougheed, appeared before him in the appeal, brought by the Government, against a judge’s decision which ruled that the Section 5A amendment to the Bail Act was unconstitutional.

His comments came after Smith threw his support behind UWI.

Noting that he was “deeply troubled” by the developments, Sir Patterson said the programme was not rigorous enough.

“The bar for entry does not exist. You walk in. And that is taxpayers’ money – yours, mine and others. It is a place that suffers from intellectual attrition.

“What I will tell you is that LLB programme is populated with a lot of super soft options to get people over the bar, to say they have an LLB,” the Chief Justice said.

“The programme lacks analytical rigour which people like myself had to go through to make it.”

He said important subjects, like Trust, were being “marginalised” and had gone from full lecture halls to sometimes a handful of students.

“Everyone had to do Trust, or at least elected to do Trust, because it was a foundational course. We passed the test because of the rigorous testing that we were given,” he said.


  1. Well, I thank you for your truthful assessment on law degree takers.
    No wondered why so many of them have been in the news in past years?
    Maybe not having the real intellectual attritions is probably what causing them to take what isn’t theirs!
    In a nutshell; steals their clients money.
    Because they don’t know their work.

  2. Thank you Sir. Finally someone with knowledge and experience is
    speaking out with concern and
    common sense on behalf of the
    people including would be lawyers.

  3. I thank you for speaking out on this serious matter. We the public seek the professional guidance from the bar association members because they are the ones who have studied in this specific field, ” LAW”. All Attorneys at Law must do what is right and take time to reflect on the many areas of their studies when managing their clients’ affairs. For the lawyers who set good standards, continue with your good work. Trust has definitely diminished!

  4. I would add integrity to the trust issue. I have no faith in most of them. Law degrees can be likened to confetti these days.

  5. I was wondering when soneone of stature and credibility would stand up and speak on the on this situation …same here in Jamaica every second person is a lawyer even some who say “they do not like to talk”, seriously?

    • As a former LLB student at UWI, I was in a group session of five (5) of us preparing for a presentation the next morning.
      When it was time for one of the females in the group to present her part, she said “I don’t like talking much.” I went to war on her.
      She allowed me to know that she would not become a Criminal Lawyer, but simply a Civil Lawyer.

  6. It is interesting to note that the chief Justice has taken a responsible approach in handling the damage to the Justice System in Jamaica.
    He has began the process from the base.
    A. Training
    B. Mentorship
    C. Accountability
    D. Administration

  7. 𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗨𝗪𝗜 𝗙𝗮𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗟𝗮𝘄?
    𝗜𝘀 𝗶𝘁 𝗥𝗼𝘀𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲-𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 “𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗱” 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗨𝗪 – 𝗦𝘁. 𝗔𝘂𝗴𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗽𝗮𝗹?


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