Mr. Justice Clinton Angelo Bernard, TC
Former Chief Justice, Trinidad and Tobago
Mr. Justice Clinton Angelo Bernard was a Trinidadian jurist and former Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago.
Early life and education
Clinton Angelo Bernard was born in East Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in 1930, the eleventh of 12 children. He first was a teacher before becoming a lawyer. After study in the United Kingdom, where he was called to the Bar in 1960, he returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1961.
He joined the Attorney General’s Department as a Legal cadet and that commenced a long and distinguished career that saw appointments as Senior Counsel in 1966, Deputy Solicitor General and acting appointments as Solicitor General and Director of Public Prosecutions. Appointed as Puisine Judge on 1 November 1977, he was elevated to the Court of appeal in 1982.
Justice Bernard was sworn in as Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago on 23 December 1985 and served until 1995. Over the decade of his service as Chief Justice, he successfully introduced many reforms, including adjustments to judges’ pensions and benefits. The robes with their national colours worn by Judges today had their design genesis with him. There was a slew of technical innovation and physical improvement which he put in place that paved the way for many of the changes that followed for the enhanced delivery of justice to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2018, he came into public light again after he released his autobiography “Beyond the Bridge: The Legal Journey of Clinton Angelo Bernard” and openly lamented the poor pension system provided for former high office holders and how it had affected him.
Honours and awards
Justice Bernard received the Trinity Cross (TC), the Country’s highest honour, in 1986.
He was also made a lifetime member of Pan Trinbago, given his love for the steelpan and contribution to the steel band movement.
Justice Bernard was married to wife Angela Bernard and was the father of three children, Garth, Lesley and Gina.
Bernard died at his Westmoorings home on Saturday on 26 October 2019, after ailing for some time. He was 89. He was accorded an Official Funeral on Wednesday 6 November 2019 at the Church of the Assumption, 70-72 Long Circular Road, Maraval, Trinidad and Tobago; followed by a private cremation at the Long Circular Crematorium in St. James.