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Former justice minister Herbert Volney has commended Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on his initiative to improve legislation governing the return of retired judges to legal practice. The existing legislation, Volney explained, bars retired judges from returning to represent clients for ten years after their retirement. Volney said the current Judges and (Salaries and Pensions) Regulations were “arguably unconstitutional.”
“It is discriminatory treatment meted out to those in the legal practice,” Volney said. “The AG is seeking to diminish the time so the impact on retired judges would not be as grave.”
Volney retired at 57 to become Justice Minister
“And I cannot practise for ten years, which is the better years, it could be argued, that I can practise law again. It is unfair and unjust. What the AG is hoping to do is increase the retirement age from 65 to 70 for judges, and then reduce the prohibition from ten years to three years. I fully endorse that because it now allows me to return to practice and make a living,” he said. Volney said after age 75, lawyers are “not as attractive” to new clients as younger lawyers.
The Sunday Guardian learned that the soon-to-be amended legislation has already got the approval of the Law Association, and its president Seenath Jairam confirmed that recommendations have already been forwarded to the AG’s office.
Expected changes to the existing legislation include:
1. A reduction of the post-retirement constitutional bar which disqualifies judges from practising law for ten years to a more reasonable and practical time of between three and five years
2. A bill before Parliament to make substantial improvements to judges’ pension and retirement benefits.
3. Increase age of retirement from 65 to 70 with the consultation and subsequent approval of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission
4. The Government’s acceptance of the latest Salaries Review Commission report which has increased the salaries and allowances for all judicial officers
5. Substantial increase of the budget for the judiciary