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A barrister has been reappointed attorney general of the Commonwealth territory of Montserrat after his predecessor resigned because of a disagreement with the island's government
Last weekend, Charles Ekins returned to the island where he spent two years as attorney general. He was there between 1998-2000 in the aftermath of the volcanic eruptions that ripped it apart. Ekins, a recorder based at Sovereign Chambers in Leeds, is one of a very small number of barristers specialising in the constitutional, legal and administrative affairs of overseas territories. The island's government made a special appeal to Ekins to act as an interim attorney general while a new full-time one is found. Ekins said: "I'm not a substantive attorney general, but acting while a new one is found." It is understood that his predecessor, Brian Cottle, stepped down after a disagreement with the government. Ekins said: "One has to work as legal adviser to the government. If the point comes where you feel you can't work things out then the result is inevitable." In his role as attorney general, Ekins handled the effects of land destruction. "There were pressing issues of land acquisition, particularly in major centres that had been made inaccessible by volcanic activity." Ekins said that the bulk of this acquisition process had been completed and that on a recent visit he had been "pleasantly surprised by how much had been done since 2000".