Remembering a Legal Luminary: Tribute to Former CCJ President Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide

On March 30, 2024, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was struck by profound sorrow as it mourned the passing of its inaugural President, the Right Honourable Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide TC. A towering figure in the legal landscape of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean, Mr. Justice de la Bastide’s legacy transcends borders and generations.

Born from Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Justice de la Bastide’s journey was one of remarkable achievement and unwavering dedication to the pursuit of justice. Educated in both his homeland and the United Kingdom, he honed his legal acumen and embarked on a distinguished career that would leave an indelible mark on the region.

His tenure as an Independent Senator in Trinidad and Tobago’s Parliament, coupled with his role as President of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago, showcased his commitment to public service and legal advocacy. Rising from private practice to the esteemed position of Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago, he demonstrated his mastery of the law and his unwavering integrity.

In 2004, Mr. Justice de la Bastide ascended to the presidency of the Caribbean Court of Justice, where his visionary leadership and profound legal insights guided the fledgling institution through its formative years. His tenure was marked by a steadfast commitment to upholding the principles of justice, fairness, and the rule of law.

Beyond his judicial responsibilities, Mr. Justice de la Bastide was a scholar and author, enriching the legal discourse with his seminal work, “Within the Law, Memoirs of a Caribbean Jurist.” His impassioned plea for intolerance of incompetence and injustice resonates as a testament to his unwavering commitment to the highest ideals of the legal profession.

CCJ President, the Honourable Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders, eloquently captured the sentiment of loss felt by the legal fraternity, expressing profound gratitude for the privilege of working alongside Mr. Justice de la Bastide. His wisdom, intellect, and unwavering dedication to the cause of justice have left an indelible imprint on all who had the privilege of knowing him.

As the CCJ opens a condolence book to the public, the region collectively mourns the passing of a legal luminary. Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide’s legacy will endure as a beacon of inspiration for future generations of jurists and advocates. May his soul rest in eternal peace, and may his contributions to the advancement of justice continue to resonate throughout the Caribbean and beyond.

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