A special hearing of the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature was convened to pay tribute to the life and work of the late Chief Justice retired, Ian Chang C.C.H S.C.
During the sitting, several distinguished officers of the Court reflected on Justice Chang‘s contribution to the nation’s legal fraternity and the Caribbean jurisprudence.
Those in attendance included the Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Justices of Appeal, Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory and Judges of the High Court.
Director of Public Prosecutions, (DPP) Shalimar Ali- Hack, Chief Parliamentary Counsel on behalf of the Attorney General Charles Fung -A -Fat, Former Attorney General and Justice of Appeal, Charles Ramson SC, and Attorney-at-law Mayo Robertson were among the speakers of the yesterday’s event held at the Court of Appeal in Kingston.
The speakers reflected on the former Chief Justice’s legal career that spanned over three decades.
He served in various capacities of the judiciary before his retirement in 2015. Chang was a former DPP, Justice of Appeal, (J.A) and Chief Justice (CJ).
On November 16, 2019, Chang lost his battle to cancer at the age of 68.
Mrs. Ali-Hack spoke of Chang’s indelible contribution to the offices of the DPP. She said that as young prosecutor, she considered herself a student of Chang.
The DPP noted that while occupying the office of DPP, Chang taught her in the disciplines of both in criminal and civil jurisdiction of the Courts.
Further, the DPP said that Chang was especially strict in that a person’s fundamental rights are not to be breached.
“He knew no discrimination. He was a simple person…not one for push, pump and thrills of the legal profession. He preferred not to wear a tie or a suit.”
Justice Chang was a hard worker and while he was a Justice of Appeal, he would go down to the High Court to sit in the criminal assizes to ease the backlog.
“He loved the law. He played with the interpretation and application of the law.”
Similarly in her overview of Justice Chang’s life, Chancellor Cummings-Edwards commented on his passion for the law.
“He was voracious reader and keen student of the law. His passion for the law caused him to go into deep thinking. He was a fountain of knowledge; his intellect was phenomenal.”
The Chancellor remembered Justice Chang as someone who loved challenging, complex and controversial issues; he presided over several controversial constitutional matters.
She noted that Chang has written almost 400 judgments, an achievement no other past or sitting judge has accomplished to date.
Yet, despite his many accomplishments, the Chancellor said that Justice Chang remained humble and was an avid animal lover.
She said Justice Chang was someone who was always willing to take law to new frontiers.
“Indeed Justice Ian Chang has left a rich legacy,” the Chancellor concluded.
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