Sun | May 22, 2022

Ex-Court Management Services boss wins appeal in unlawful retirement case

Published:Friday | January 21, 2022 | 3:24 PM
"I am glad it is finally over," said Deborah Patrick-Gardner, the former principal executive officer of the government-run Court Management Services.

The Court of Appeal has upheld a Full Court ruling that Deborah Patrick-Gardner who was principal executive officer of the government-run Court Management Services (CMS) must be reinstated because she was unlawfully retired in 2016.

The Court Administration Division replaced the CMS in 2015 following a 2009 amendment to the Judicature (Supreme Court) Act.

In handing down  its decision today, the Court of Appeal awarded legal costs in favour of Patrick-Gardner who was the respondent in the appeal brought by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

"I am glad it is finally over," Patrick-Gardner commented.

Following her early retirement at age 42, Patrick-Gardner took the issue to the Supreme Court seeking to quash the decision to retire her.

The Full Court heard the matter and ruled in her favour in April 2018.

Patrick-Gardner, who is now an attorney-at-law, then resumed duties in the public service.

But the PSC took the matter to the Court of Appeal.

Patrick-Gardner is now at the Ministry of Labour as the chief technical director of the Labour Division.

In 2016, the PSC informed the permanent secretary in the Justice Ministry that Patrick-Gardner was to be retired on the grounds of a reorganisation.

Patrick-Gardner was granted leave in September 2013 to pursue a law degree in order to better carry out her functions.

She completed her studies in two years.

She was attempting to resume her duties when she was informed of the decision to retire her after two decades as a career civil servant.

Attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman who represented Patrick-Gardner said today that the Court of Appeal in dismissing the matter agreed with the submissions  that the retirement breached the rules of natural justice as she was not afforded an opportunity to be heard by the PSC before it took the decision to recommend her removal on the grounds of reorganisation.

- Barbara Gayle

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