January 2023 Volume 19

As Queen’s death triggers court changes, lawyers joke about initials ‘KC’

Reprinted from Jamaica Gleaner
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The death of Her Majesty the Queen, who was Jamaica’s head of state, has resulted in immediate changes to Jamaica’s court system.

No longer will the phrase ‘God save The Queen’ be used in the courts islandwide. Instead, it will be ‘God save The King’.

King Charles III, who succeeds The Queen, is now Jamaica’s head of state.

A notice was from the office of Chief Justice Bryan Sykes to all court staff in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, and Parish Courts.

“Please be advised that the honourable chief justice has directed that as of now, all court proceedings usually issued in the name of The Queen/Regina must now be issued in the name of The King/Rex.

“Also, all oaths and court documents referring to The Queen/Regina must now refer to The King/Rex. This is in light of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II,” the notice stated.

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, KC, said Thursday that Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Taylor KC who is acting as DPP “has advised the staff in terms of drafting of indictments that as of today going forward it must be The King versus the accused. ‘

King’s Counsel Michael Hylton said the change to King’s Counsel was an automatic change. He said although our letter patent said QC, the tradition had been to change when the gender of the monarchy changed without the need for letter patent.

Hylton explained that in 1952, people like the late Norman Manley and J.A.G. Smith, who were among the leading King’s Counsel at the time, changed to Queen’s Counsel. “We are going to take a while to get used to it, but it happened 70 years ago,” he said.

Hylton said there was nobody living in Jamaica now who was an original King’s Counsel.

‘There are some jokes going around about Kingston College and some of my KC friends are teasing me about the fact that I will have to use the initial of their alma mater,” says Hylton, who is a St George’s College old boy.

King’s Counsel George Soutar, who is a past student of Kingston College, is happy that his school’s initials will be used frequently in the courts. He said one of the problems he has is that he will have to change his letterheads from QC to KC.

– Barbara Gayle

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