Lovells ends Trinidad’s Corporal Punishment Act

Lovells has secured a major victory in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, resulting in the abolition of corporal punishment in Trinidad and Tobago.

The City firm advised Winston Ceasar, a prisoner in Trinidad and Tobago who had been sentenced to 15 strokes of the cat-o’-nine-tails and 20 years’ hard labour in prison. The firm worked pro bono.

In delivering its judgment in April, the court said Trinidad’s Corporal Punishment Act was incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights and could not be used to legitimise a practice that was cruel and inhuman. The court has asked Trinidad to amend its legislation.

The court added that it felt bound to put on record its profound regret that the presiding officer in Trinidad’s High Court saw fit to allow the use of a punishment that violated the nation’s international obligations.

Caesar’s case first came to Lovells in 1997 when the firm decided to seek redress through the Inter-American Court instead of appealing to the Privy Council.

The Lovells team was led by Andrea Monks and was supported by Peter Carter QC of Park Court Chambers.