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High Court judge’s ruling on payment was flawed - Willock

High Court judge’s ruling on payment was flawed - Willock

After a brief hiatus, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Julian Willock, has decided to once again speak publicly on the matter of his now aborted injunction before the High Court.

Appearing on the Umoja radio show yesterday November 15, the Speaker said several times that the ruling of the presiding judge, Justice Adrian Jack, was flawed in deciding that he (Willock) should be personally liable for the court costs.

The court determined that Willock appeared in his personal capacity in bringing the injunction.

“It’s a flawed ruling because you have never heard a plaintiff takes a case to court, and you’ve never heard the plaintiff lose – whether he or she withdraws, whether he just loses the case – you’ve never heard any debate about who pays,” Willock said.

“The person who takes the case and either loses or withdraws, he pays in whatever capacity he comes before the court in. That is just jurisprudence. That has been long established,“ the Speaker asserted.

Willock described the circumstances as ‘curious’ whereby he was being asked to pay legal fees out of pocket after appearing before the court in his official capacity.

Cost not as high as mentioned in media

Willock also revealed during the show that there was a hearing sometime last week to determine costs in the matter, and the figure was now down to about 80 to 90 thousand dollars; much lower than was being peddled in the media by his critics.

The Speaker said this is notwithstanding the fact that taxpayers may have to bear that burden, even as some argue that the funds could be better used.

The focus, he argued, should instead be placed on the bigger picture of an unfair justice system that had different rules for different persons.

Contract says AG, not Silk Legal should have led injunction

Meanwhile, Willock continued to insist that his injunction was filed in the public’s interest and on behalf of the House of Assembly (HOA), despite his acknowledgement that permission had not being given at any time by either House Members or the Attorney General (AG) to do so.

Furthermore, the judge’s ruling suggests that the AG should have led any matter that was brought to the High Court on behalf of the HOA and not Silk Legal, as was done with the Speaker’s injunction.

According to the judge’s ruling, the contract between the HOA and Silk Legal reads: “If any aspect of the COI work reaches a court of law as it related to the aforesaid members in their official capacity, Silk Legal (BVI) Inc will assist Attorney General with legal representation in forms that the Honourable Attorney General approves and considers necessary.”

The AG formed no part of the legal team and even declined to give permission for the Speaker’s injunction matter to proceed before the court.

‘Speakers should not be in the political space’

Just last week in the House of Assembly (HOA), Willock said Speakers and governors should not be part of the political space. He made that statement after acknowledging the furore surrounding payment of legal fees for his aborted injunction.

House Members recently voted to establish a select committee to effectively examine whether taxpayers or Willock should pay the legal fees which the judge ordered Willock to pay.


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