Privy Council dismisses challenge to constitutionality of the Covid Regulations in Trinidad and Tobago

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The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has given judgment in Suraj and Maharaj v Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago [2022] UKPC 26, dismissing the appellant’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Covid Regulations passed in Trinidad and Tobago during the pandemic.

This important judgment concerns the extent to which, under the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, the government has the power to bring about interferences with the exercise of human rights through ordinary legislation rather than by securing a super-majority in the legislature. The decision resolves a significant disagreement in the case law, determining that ordinary legislation may in principle impinge upon fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution provided it is proportionate to a legitimate aim. The judgment also considers the operation of the ‘savings clause’ in the Constitution, which protects ‘existing laws’ that pre-date the Constitution, in respect of subsidiary legislation passed under ‘saved’ enabling powers.

Natasha Jackson acted for the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago and was instructed by Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

The Judgement can be found here.

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