The Judiciary has extended condolences to the family of former Appeal Court Judge Andre des Vignes, who passed away on Monday morning.
A release issued late on Tuesday stated that Chief Justice Ivor Archie, the Judges of the Supreme Court and other staff were deeply saddened by des Vignes’ passing.
“The Chief Justice, Judges, Judicial Officers, Management and Staff of the Judiciary extend to his dear wife and children and the rest of his family their heartfelt condolences on what we know is their deep loss and sorrow,” it said.
It stated that in addition to providing yeoman service in the High Court and Court of Appeal, des Vignes also served as a member of the Judicial Education Institute of T&T (JEITT).
“His judgments, many of which are of landmark import, were known for their clarity and display of superior legal acumen,” it said.
Describing des Vignes as kind, humble and engaging, the Judiciary noted that his pleasant demeanour was evident to Judiciary staff even before he joined the organisation in 2009.
“His interactions then, as they were in his time on the bench, with Judiciary staff were always cordial, unfussy and kind and he showed a deep appreciation for them and their work,” it said.
Several social justice NGOs, he was involved with throughout his life, took to social media between late Monday and Tuesday morning to mourn his passing.
Chair of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) Leela Ramdeen said she and the organisation, of which des Vignes was a founding member, were deeply saddened by the news.
She said that he always exuded kind qualities since she knew him.
“Firstly, he was a man of deep abiding faith; a compassionate man who was committed to the promotion of justice; a man of integrity; a humble, gentle and righteous man whose amazing intellect and lofty positions did not lead him to forget the needs of the less fortunate,” Ramdeen said.
She noted that over the past year he assisted the organisation in developing and implementing its virtual legal aid clinic.
“In spite of his busy schedule, he committed to work with us on a monthly basis to provide pro bono advice to those who accessed the clinic,” Ramdeen said.
Des Vignes’ family is still in the process of finalising funeral arrangements.