Bristol on the EC Judiciary

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By Francis Alexis, 5 Dec 16


1.1       James Bristol is smarting from his client not having obtained from the High Court an injunction to stop the 24th Nov Referendum. He cries lack of integrity during the hearing; implying that justice suffered from lack of integrity in the hearing.  Bristol has long been publicly putting down the EC Judiciary, in his advocacy for the Privy Council. Thus, on 20 May 2014, on GBN TV he gave EC Judges a rather low rating.


2.1       Bristol wrote a letter of 14th Nov to the Supervisor of Elections, not said to be for any client; making ‘observations’ about section 5 of the Constitutional Referendum Act 2016; and concluding these highlighted ‘serious deficiencies in the referendum process’.

2.2       Ten of the paragraphs of his letter numbered ‘First’ to ‘Nineteenth’ were simply observations, as this: ‘First we note that by section 5(1) of the Act, that each writ is to have the corresponding bill attached thereto.’ Those ten such paragraphs did not question any action of the Supervisor.


3.1       One of the two main strings to Bristol’s bow in Court was that a referendum ballot paper must bear the date of the referendum. He could not produce a single phrase in any law to support this.

3.2       He sought haven in a form in the general referendum regulations. A date certainly appears on the form. But there is no date on the ballot paper on the form; not even on the counterfoil to the ballot paper. The date is on the stub to the ballot paper, which stub cannot be seen by the public, and so cannot mislead a voter. That was explained.

3.3       Bristol, unasked, spontaneously, then told the Court that, on this explanation, he had withdraw the contention about a date having to be on the ballot. So the Court did not have to make, and did not make, any ruling against him on this main point; he on his own volition, expressly and formally abandoned this main point.


4.1       On that concession by Bristol, the Titanic was going down, not to be salvaged by his other main point; that, with the referendum writs, the relevant constitutional amendment Bills were to be attached thereto when published in the newspapers.

4.2       When a writ is being sent by the Governor-General to the Supervisor the relevant Bill is to be attached thereto, naturally. No such attachment in the newspaper is stipulated in law; nor attainable in practicality and common sense. It sufficed that the writs and the Bills were published in the same special issue of the newspapers; as shown by the original copies of the newspapers. Bristol could no longer urge his specious attachment idea convincingly, although he did not formally abandon it.


5.1       Again, Bristol filed his two originating papers in Court, two typed pages each, three minutes before 4pm on Friday 18th Nov.By next court day, early Monday 21st, Bristol filed amended versions; for the hearing very likely that same Monday. Those were Bristol’s time-lines, on matters that had occurred weeks before, the latest being 27th Oct.That was surely a fishing expedition put out to sea at the last moment.


6.1       Bristol complains that Ruggles Ferguson and I were in conflict of interest for being members of CRAC and also on the team of lawyers headed by the A-G representing the Supervisor in court. Those two positions, giving advice on which the Supervisor acted and defending the actions of the Supervisor, are not in conflict, they are in consonance.

6.2       Bristol says that Ruggles and I representing the Supervisor means that we had at heart the interest of the Government. In conducting a referendum, the Supervisor, by sections 39(7) and 35(6) of the Constitution, shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority. Such is the autonomy of the Supervisor. So, representing the Supervisor cannot possibly mean having at heart the interest of the Government.


7.1       The application for the injunction entirely lacked merit; one of Bristol’s two main points he formally abandoned midstream, and the other he could only watch gone with the wind. The matter when were the petition regulations published did not feature. The outcome was pleasing to integrity.

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