In early 2011 Mrs Cheryl Grant-Bethel, the former deputy directory of public prosecutions, brought a case against Mr John Delaney QC – in his capacity as attorney general of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and in his personal capacity – in relation to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission's failure to consider her application to be appointed director of public prosecutions.
The case raised a number of important and novel issues relating to the obligations of the commission to consider applications for legal positions in the civil service. After extensive hearings in January, February and March 2011, the court dismissed Grant-Bethel's application for judicial review and acceded to Delaney's applications to have the proceedings against him in his official capacity struck out and the proceedings against him in his personal capacity severed from the judicial review proceedings.
In striking out the proceedings against Delaney in his official capacity, the court found that the Grant-Bethel's claim was for relief relating to a decision of the commission solely and, as such, the attorney general was not a necessary or proper party for the judicial review proceedings. Regarding the case against Delaney in his personal capacity, this appears to be the first case in the Bahamas in which the tort of misfeasance in public office has been raised against an attorney general, government minister or civil servant. Delaney sought to have the claim against him struck out on the basis that it had no reasonable prospect of success or, alternatively, that it was frivolous and vexatious. However, the court ordered that this aspect of the case be severed. This claim remains outstanding.
For further information on this topic please contact Marco Turnquest at Lennox Paton by telephone (+1 242 502 5000), fax (+1 242 328 0566) or email ([email protected]).
September 29 2011