Outgoing Chief Justice Lauded for 40 Years of Service

Photo: Adrian Walker DSC 4277: Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Zaila McCalla (right), is greeted by Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Bryan Sykes, after a special sitting of the Supreme Court to honour the outgoing Chief Justice, held at Public Building East, downtown Kingston, on January 31.

Story Highlights

  • Outgoing Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Zaila McCalla, has been praised for her over 40 years of service to the judiciary in Jamaica.
  • She received the accolades from Judges of the Supreme Court and other members of the judiciary during a special sitting of the Supreme Court at Public Building East, King Street, downtown Kingston, today (January 31).
  • “It is well known that the function of the judiciary is to interpret and apply the law, and the function of the legislative branch is to make the law. I feel confident that your legacy will ensure that the rule of law is maintained as the country moves forward,” Mrs. Malahoo Forte said.

Outgoing Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Zaila McCalla, has been praised for her over 40 years of service to the judiciary in Jamaica.

She received the accolades from Judges of the Supreme Court and other members of the judiciary during a special sitting of the Supreme Court at Public Building East, King Street, downtown Kingston, today (January 31).

In her tribute, Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, said she will always remember Mrs. Mc Calla’s quiet strength, and her humble and dignified approach to her role as Chief Justice.

“It is well known that the function of the judiciary is to interpret and apply the law, and the function of the legislative branch is to make the law. I feel confident that your legacy will ensure that the rule of law is maintained as the country moves forward,” Mrs. Malahoo Forte said.

For his part, Chairman of the General Legal Council, Mr. Allan Wood, said Mrs. McCalla’s judgements will stand the test of times.

He further commended the outgoing Chief Justice for implementing measures such as the Case Management System, which he said has improved the administration of justice.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, expressed appreciation to Mrs. McCalla for the civility, the grace and the dignity with which she carried out her duties.

“It is also said that tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy. May I say, having to go through many of these meetings with the bureaucrats and, sometimes, members of the political directorate, I have been in awe at the tact that you have displayed,” Ms. Llewellyn said.

For his part, Justice Bryan Sykes noted that the outgoing Chief Justice had the ability to build bridges and that her approach to her Office brought a sense of calm amidst upheavals.

In her response, Mrs. McCalla expressed appreciation for the very kind words spoken about her.

“Simply saying thanks is not enough for every single thing that I have heard, but I thank you most sincerely for everything that you have said. This occasion has afforded me the opportunity to say it has been a wonderful experience working with all the persons that I have come in contact with,” she noted.

She also gave special thanks to the judges with whom she has worked. “We have a core group of judges who work tirelessly, and we think of the many innovations that we could implement in our justice system,” Mrs. McCalla added.

Chief Justice McCalla has had an extensive legal career in the public service, having been called to the Jamaican Bar in 1976.

In August of 1985, she became a Resident Magistrate and was later appointed as Senior Resident Magistrate. In 1996, she became a Master in Chambers, and in 1997, she was appointed Puisne Judge and served until 2006, when she was promoted a Judge of the Court of Appeal.

She was appointed Chief Justice on June 27, 2007. Chief Justice McCalla is the first female Chief Justice of Jamaica. She demits office today (January 31).

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