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Passage of Bill remarkable – Privy Council


The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has described the passage of a Bill here in 2007 as “a somewhat remarkable turn of events.”{{more}}

In a judgement handed down on 18 December 2014 in the case of Sir James Mitchell v Ottley Hall Commissioner of Inquiry Ephraim Georges, the justices commented on a Bill which was passed in the House of Assembly in St Vincent and the Grenadines on June 8, 2007, to repeal section 18(1)(b) of the Commission of Inquiry Act.

The section which was repealed gave a person in a position such as Mitchell the right to payment of his reasonable costs in an inquiry.

“The only members of Parliament present were government ministers or members of the governing party and the Bill was taken through all its stages in one day’s sitting and enacted as Act No 17 of 2007,” the judgement, delivered by Lord Clarke, said.

This Bill was passed four years after the commencement of the Ottley Hall Inquiry, which began in 2003.

The Privy Council ruled in favour of Mitchell and said it was their provisional view that Mitchell’s costs at the Privy Council and in the lower courts should be paid by the Ottley Hall Commission of Inquiry.