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Being a judge a lonely job – Justice Bruce-Lyle

Being a judge a lonely job – Justice Bruce-Lyle


Caribbean countries should seek to be in control of their own destiny, says Justice Frederick Victor Bruce-Lyle, High Court Judge in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC).

In a one-on-one with SEARCHLIGHT to mark the 40th anniversary of the ECSC, Justice Bruce-Lyle said that it is this pursuit of our own destiny that should encourage all Caribbean territories to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) their final court of appeal.{{more}}

“That’s why it was very painful for me the other day to see that the case involving the Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago had to go all the way before the Privy Counsel when we have the Caribbean Court of Justice headquarters right there in Trinidad,” said the Ghanaian-born Justice.

Justice Bruce-Lyle, who has been a judge with the ECSC for eight years, said that he really wanted to pursue a military career but “I had no choice, society demanded that I studied law.”

He explained that his family and the law were synonymous with each other: his father, uncles and grand father were all chief justices and his younger sister is also a judge.

“It is a long tradition in my family,” said Justice Bruce-Lyle, quickly adding however that he has no intention of pushing any of his three daughters into a law career.

“They are free to choose what they want,” he said.

Justice Bruce-Lyle said that while he has embraced his responsibility as a judge in good stride he recognizes the tremendous responsibility that he has as a judicial officer.

He said that judges sometimes agonize over their decisions and while they should not allow any emotions to affect them, “we are humans.”

He said that his comfort is found in the fact that in each judgment he has made, he applied the law, and what he did with regard to the law is right.

“The most satisfying thing about this profession for me is to know that at the end of every day, when I look back I could say that I have done the right thing, I have dispensed justice,” Justice Bruce-Lyle said.

Having served in Belize, the British Virgin Islands and in Antigua and Barbuda as the Chief Magistrate, Justice Bruce-Lyle told SEARCHLIGHT that the most regrettable thing about his career is the loneliness that accompanies it.

“It is a very lonely job; we are somehow supposed to be divorced from our society, unable to comment on things that may affect our lives. Because the nature of the job is that we must be impartial,” he said.

Being unable to have many friends, Justice Bruce-Lyle said that when a judge is single it could be very frustrating.

“I have a family so I am somewhat insulated,” he said.

While the journey half way around the world to his West African homeland could be financially taxing, Justice Bruce-Lyle told SEARCHLIGHT that it has always been his intention to make sure that his children are introduced and develop an appreciation for their African heritage along side their Vincentian roots.

“I go to Ghana every year,” he said.