Chief Justice Ivor Archie has left the country on vacation until May 9th.
The confirmation came via a statement by the Judiciary.
The statement says: "The Hounourable Mr Justice Allan Mendonca J.A. will perform the functions of Chief Justice in the absence of The Honourable the Chief Justice Mr Justice Ivor Archie who is out of the country on vacation leave from Tuesday 20th March 2018 to Wednesday 9th May 2018."
The CJ had indicated that he would proceed on vacation leave after standing down his request for a controversial sabbatical leave.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has options to stop Chief Justice Ivor Archie from proceeding on a six month sabbatical leave approved by President Anthony Carmona.
A decision which has caused a firestorm of criticism within and outside the judiciary.
These options include directing the treasury not to pay the CJ for the six months, or triggering Section 137 of the Constitution, something which the government has maintained it would not do despite accusations in the public domain about the CJ.
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young says there is presently no existing term and condition to allow the Chief Justice to proceed on sabbatical leave.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie has applied for a six-month sabbatical which appears to have been approved by the Office of the President.
The Office of the President has since written to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, inviting him to consult on the appointment of an acting Chief Justice.
Attorneys for the Law Association of T&T (LATT) have told Chief Justice Ivor Archie’s attorneys he is not above the law and as with all public officials, is subject to public scrutiny. As such, contrary to the CJ’s position, the association, through its attorneys, says it is acting within its remit to “protect the interest of the legal profession in Trinidad and Tobago” by probing allegation against the CJ.
In an historic move, Chief Justice Ivor Archie has initiated legal action against the Law Association, saying it has no authority to investigate him, and has sought to block any further action by the association pending the outcome of High Court action.
But the association says the letter will not stop them from moving ahead and seeking advice on whether the allegations made against the CJ are enough to warrant the start of impeachment proceedings.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie has replied to the president of the Law Association Douglas Mendes, seeking to clarify some aspects of the controversy that revolves around the appointment of Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar as a High Court judge.
The response came via a letter signed by the administrative secretary to the Chief Justice, Sherlanne Pierre.
The letter made it clear from the onset that the appointment of Supreme Court judges, is not the responsibility of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) but rather that of the President of the Republic.