The Right Honourable Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron
President of the Caribbean Court of Justice
Sir Dennis Byron was sworn in as the new president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on 1 September 2011. Sir Dennis, who was Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, succeeds the Right Honourable Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide T.C., who retired on 18 August 2011.
Early life and education
Born in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis on 4 July 1943, Sir Dennis is the first of four children of the late Mr. Vincent Byron, Sr., MBE, former senior civil servant who served as warden of Anguilla and who on occasion acted as Governor-General's deputy to former Governor-General Sir Clement Arrindell, QC.
Sir Dennis won the Leeward Islands Scholarship in 1960 and went on to read law at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, from which he graduated with an MA and LLB in 1966. In 1965 he was called to the Bar at the Hon. Society of Inner Temple as Barrister-at-Law of the High Court of Justice in England.
He worked in private practice as a Barrister-at Law throughout Leeward Islands, with Chambers in Saint Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla from 1966 to 1982, before being appointed as a High Court Judge.
In 1982-1990 he served as a High Court Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), with special assignment as Acting Chief Justice of Grenada in relation to the Maurice Bishop murder trial. Sir Dennis Byron has attended numerous Conferences on Judicial Reform Programmes and he is particularly interested in Judicial Education Activities. He is the current President of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute (CJEI). The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Judicial Reform Program had its genesis with Sir Dennis Byron.
He acted as Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court from 1996 and was confirmed in April of 1999. During his tenure as Chief Justice, Sir Dennis led the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Judicial Reform Programme, which included the establishment of a Code of Ethics for Judges, the implementation of new Civil Procedure Rules and the establishment of a Judicial Education Institute, among other innovations.
His special interest in judicial education activities has led to his appointment as President of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute (CJEI), a position which he has held since the year 2000.
ASir Dennis Byron was granted leave of absence in April 2004, by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Heads of Government to take up a three-year appointment in the continent of Africa, where he assumed the post of permanent judge of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), replacing Justice Lloyd George Williams, who resigned in March 2005. Sir Dennis was elected President of the Tribunal in May 2007 and re-elected for a second term in May 2009.
s President of the ICTR, Sir Dennis Byron was responsible for the overall management of the Court and the implementation of ICTR strategic policies, through liaison with member states and the United Nations Security Council.
While at the ICTR, Sir Dennis has sat on seven trial benches and served on a number of pre-trial benches.
His four-year tenure as President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda concluded in May 2011, and following the unanimous recommendation of Sir Dennis as President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) by the Regional and Judicial Legal Services Commission he was sworn into office in his home country of St Kitts and Nevis on 1 September 2011.
Sir Dennis Byron has written many articles and publications and also holds the first Yogis and Keddy Chair in Human Rights Law at Dalhousie University Nova Scotia, Canada.
Honours and awards
In 2004, Sir Dennis Byron was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and he was appointed a member of the Privy Council.
Sir Dennis is married to Lady Norma Byron, and is the father of four children.
Sir Dennis's uncle-in-law. Mr. Vincent Byron, Sr., and his wife, distinguished business proprietor Mrs. Pearl Byron, both died in mid-1998. His only sister, Helen Marcella Byron-Baker, was a former senior property manager at Durst Fetner, one of the largest property developers in New York.
Sir Dennis previously practised law with his uncle, the late former Magistrate Cecil Byron. He is the older brother of former St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to the Republic of China on Taiwan and South Korea, Terence Byron, CMG, and of current Opposition Senator in the Federal Parliament the Honourable Vincent Byron, Jr., who are Partners in the local law firm of Byron & Byron.