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Sir Hugh Rawlins receives 2021 UWIAA SKN Pelican Award

Sir Hugh Rawlins receives 2021 UWIAA SKN Pelican Award

UWI alumnus, the Honourable Sir Hugh Rawlins is a national of St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) and a Judge of the ILO International Administrative Tribunal in Geneva, Switzerland. He assumed that Office in August 2012 upon retirement as Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to which he was appointed in April 2008.

He received this honour at the 5th annual UWIAA SKN Global Giving and Pelican Awards event which was graciously hosted by H.E. Sir Tapley Seaton, the Governor-General on August 1, 2021. Sir Tapley is himself a Pelican Awardee.

Sir Hugh received a BA (Hons.) in 1974 and an LLB (Hons.) in 1983, both from the University of the West Indies. In 1985, he received the LEC from the Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica, with Honourable Mention in his final year of study. In 1986, he was the recipient of a UNITAR Fellowship to The Hague Academy of International Law and the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands and in 1988 he received a British Development Fellowship and attended the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies of the University of London. There, he pursued Legislative Drafting, Administrative Law and Constitutional Law under Sir William Dale, the Director of the Institute and renowned former Chief Parliamentary Counsel of England. He received a Commonwealth Fellowship at the University of the West Indies on which he completed his LLM studies in 1991.

He was born in 1950 in Gingerland, Nevis, to Mr. William Joseph and Mrs. Veronica Rawlins. Sir Hugh received his early education in schools in Gingerland, Nevis and his Secondary education at the Charlestown Secondary School and St. Kitts/Nevis Grammar School/Basseterre Senior High School.

Sir Hugh’s career in full employment was first as a teacher at the Charlestown Secondary, the Basseterre Senior High and the Sandy Point High Schools before entering the Civil Service of St. Kitts and Nevis. From 1976 to 1985, he was Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Housing and Labour of St. Kitts and Nevis. During this time, he acted as the Permanent Secretary on various occasions in that Ministry; in the Ministry of Nevis Affairs, as well as in the Ministry of Communications, Post and Public Utilities. He also acted as Head of the Department of Labour. In his legal career, Sir Hugh was a Crown Counsel of St. Kitts and Nevis from 1985 to 1988. During 1988 to 1989, he was Registrar of the High Court of St. Kitts and Nevis and Additional Magistrate, appointed with responsibility for District ‘B’, St. Kitts, which included the area from Palmetto Point through Old Road, Sandy Point, Newton Ground, St. Paul’s, Dieppe Bay, Parsons’, Saddlers, Tabernacle to Molineux. He was appointed Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary in the Legal Department of St. Kitts and Nevis from October 1989 to January 1995 and became a full time Lecturer in Law at the University of the West Indies for the next 5 years, following a temporary stint there in 1994. During his tenure as Lecturer, Sir Hugh was variously the Course Director of Constitutional Law, Administrative Law (at LLB and LLM levels), Public Law Remedies and Law and Legal Systems. He was also the Course Director of the LL.M. Legislative Drafting Program at the Faculty of Law between 2012 and 2014.

Sir Hugh joined the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in August 2000 as a Master to assist with the implementation of the New Civil Practice Rules, 2000. He sat as Master in every Member State and Territory of the Court until he was appointed as a High Court Judge in January 2002. He sat as a High Court Judge in St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands before he was elevated to the Office of Justice of the Court of Appeal in September 2005. During his tenure as High Court and Court of Appeal Judge he was the Chairman of the Judicial Ethics Committee and of the Judicial Education Institute of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. He was a Member of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission of the Caribbean Court of Justice from 28 January 2010 until he retired in 2012. Sir Hugh acted in the Office of Chief Justice of the Court from 29 April 2008, and was confirmed in the Office of Chief Justice by Her Majesty, the Queen on 30 May 2008. During his tenure as Chief Justice, he was ex officio, the Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services Commissions of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, and of the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla. It is a matter of record that he is the only person to date who has substantively assumed duties in the four levels of the Court. His Judgments have been quoted with approval by the Privy Council; the Supreme Court of Kenya and by Commonwealth Caribbean Courts. Sir Hugh has published a number of Legal Articles, in Regional and International Law Journals, in the areas of Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Civil Practice, Public Law Remedies and International Commercial Contracts. Honours and awards.

On 27 March 2012, Her Majesty, the Queen, conferred the Honour of Knighthood upon His Lordship by the Award of the Order of the Knight Bachelor. Additionally, Sir Hugh is an Associate Fellow of the Society of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the University of London since 2004, as well as a Fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute (CJEI), based at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada, from 2004. He was also recognized by the Hearts and Hands for Nevis Inc. and the Sandy Point Benevolent Society in New York. In October 2018, he was further recognized by the University of the West Indies for Outstanding Leadership and Public Service on the occasion of its 70 Anniversary.

Sir Hugh was a sportsman; a member of the Nevis Junior Red Cross Society; the Boys Brigade and the Boys’ Scouts. He was also a Scout Leader; a member of the Gingerland Methodist Youth Fellowship; the Basseterre Anglican Young Peoples’ Association; a member of the Grammar School Cadet Corps; a soccer trainer and founding member of the Village Superstars Soccer Club; a dramatist and Playwright, whose play placed third in the 1967 Statehood Competition; a musician, who played in the Cave Hill Campus Band and a member of the National Carnival Committee from 1974 to 1989 as Secretary, Chairman of the National Calypso Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Carnival Committee.


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