Monday, September 18, 2017


Dear Mr. President,
I don't know if you are aware of it (but you ought to be), but a lot of practicing attorneys were prevented from attending the speech by the Chief Justice in the Convocation Hall today. A young attorney reported to me that he attended the Church service and wanted to go to listen to the Chief Justice's speech. He said that he was aware of the call for a boycott but as this was his first year as an attorney he wanted to take part in every aspect of the ceremonial opening of the Courts.

Imagine his surprise when he turned up for the speech and saw with his own eyes that the Convocation Hall was about ninety percent empty but was told by an usher that he couldn't get in because "seats allocated for attorneys had already been filled."

Now you've only got to look at it to see that this is absolute nonsense and very wrong. Frankly, I am astonished to hear that in a matter such as this that practicing attorneys rank behind lay persons. One would have thought that the ceremonial opening of the Courts are more for us than for anybody else.

In these circumstances I request and require a definitive statement from the Law Association on this. Does the Law Association agree that practicing attorneys should rank behind "invitees and other dignitaries" in matters such as this? In other words, we, the members of the Law Association are not as important to the Courts of this country as foreigners and other so-called "dignitaries"?And our Association accepts this?

If the Council of the Law Association believes that this is acceptable kindly tell the membership and please explain why. I know that members would be most interested.

For the record, I personally think that this exclusion of attorneys was unacceptable because we are officers of the Court and should therefore rank before anybody else in all ceremonies relating to the Court.

It is probably better that I leave unexpressed my opinion as to the real reason why there was this exclusion of attorneys other than to note that this opening of the new Law Term was not without controversy.

Yours faithfully,

Robin Montano


  1. of course, attorneys first, but they should, in advance, in an agreed time, reserve their seats, and not just show up vikie vie at the last minute, and expect to be seated (merely because they are lawyers). I don't understand Trinidad&Tobago. There should be accepted protocols for all these occasions. We create self-injury whose cure is blaming others. Innocentism.

  2. Should it have been permissible to reserve seats, Attorneys attending would have done so. There is no official system in place for such a seat reservation for Attorneys this occasion. They are therefore at the mercy of the Ushers and the Coordinators.

  3. It is well known that everyone who was invited to the Church may not attend the Convocation Hall. I personally know Attorneys who simply went to the Church alone and came back to the office. Therefore, in my view, if you wish listen to the Chief Justice's Speech, simply make some enquires as to the procedures in place. Of course it's on an invitation basis but was there an RSVP system in place? If there was, Attorneys can be accommodated in place of those who were absent. The procedures in place may need to be re-evaluated.