H.E. Dr. the Hon Nicholas Joseph Orville Liverpool, DAH, OCC
Former President of the Commonwealth of Dominica
Nicholas Joseph Orville Liverpool (9 September 1934 - 1 June 2015) was a Dominican politician and jurist who was the sixth President of Dominica, from 2 October 2003 to 17 September 2012.
Early life and education
Dr. Nicholas Joseph Orville Liverpool was born in the southern village of Grand Bay, Commonwealth of Dominica on 9 September 1934.
In 1945, Liverpool came first in the island examinations and won the Open Scholarship to attend the Dominica Grammar School, where he obtained the Cambridge Senior School Certificate in 1950. He began his university Education in 1957 and obtained an LLB (Hons) degree from Hull University in 1960. He was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law at the Inner Temple, London, in 1961. He was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to read for a Doctorate degree from the Sheffield University from 1962 to 1965. His doctoral thesis was on "The Law of Succession in the West Indies".
Dr. Liverpool then migrated to Ghana in West Africa where he lectured for two years, after which he journeyed to Canada on a Research Fellowship to trace and publish "The History and Development of the Civil Code of St. Lucia" at McGill University in Montreal.
Dr. Liverpool’s entire professional life has been spent in the field of law.
returned to Dominica in 1968 and joined the law firm of Mr. K. H. C. Alleyne Q.C., but after two years he was persuaded by a friend who was then the Minister of Education in the Bahamas to open a Law School in that country. In 1970 he attended the first formal meeting of Caribbean Judges and Lawyers convened by the Organisation of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations (OCCBA) in Jamaica to discuss the establishment of a West Indian Court to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
In 1973 Dr. Liverpool acted as a High Court judge in Antigua and Montserrat, but the lure of academia took him, early in 1974 to the Faculty of Law at Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados.where he worked from 1974 to 1992. During that period he served as a member of the Council of Legal Education, Head of the Teaching Department, Deputy Dean and Dean of the Faculty of Law (1976-1978).
In 1979 a disastrous fire destroyed the building which housed the High Court and the Registry in Roseau, this was followed by the devastation of the island by Hurricane David. At a time when many professionals were leaving the country, Dr. Liverpool took no-pay leave from the University for one year to return to Dominica to help his island.
Dr. Liverpool assisted in revising the laws of St. Vincent, Antigua and Barbados; and he was solely responsible for the revision of the subsidiary laws of Belize, Grenada and Guyana. He served as a part-time Court of Appeal judge in Grenada (1979-1991), Belize (1990-1992 and 1996-2000) and the Bahamas (1996-1997); and was a full-time judge of the Court of Appeal of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) from 1992 to 1995.
Dr. Liverpool served as Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United States of America from 1998-2001. He has also served on several Boards, Tribunals and Commissions; has written numerous articles, publications and papers and has attended many conferences/seminars nationally, regionally and internationally.
He served as the sixth President of the Commonwealth of Dominica from 2 October 2003 to 17 September 2012.
Honours and awards
In 2003 Dr. Liverpool received the Dominica Award of Honour (DAH). In 2007 he received the Honorary Degree of LLD from the University of the West Indies, and in 2008 he was awarded the honour of the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC).
The University of Hull awarded him a degree of Doctor of Laws in July 2011.
In 2012 he was awarded and invested by HRH The Duke of Castro as a Knight Grand Cross with Gold Star of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George in recognition to his contribution to law and Catholic Life and served from 2014 as Vice Delegate for Dominica for the Order.
Dr. Liverpool was honoured at an exhibition at the Faculty of Law for The UWI's 60th Anniversary in recognition of his immeasurable contribution to the Faculty, The UWI and the Commonwealth Caribbean.
Dr. Liverpool was married to Verna Williams in 1970 and they had five children.
Death and legacy
Dr. Liverpool died on Monday, 1 June 2015 in Miami where he had been obtaining medical treatment. He was 80.
Dr. Liverpool was accorded a state funeral at the Grand Bay Roman Catholic Church on Friday, 19 June 2015. His body was laid to rest at the Grand Bay Roman Catholic Cemetery in Dominica.
On 1 November 2014, the Melville Hall to Pond Casse Highway was renamed “The Nicholas Liverpool Highway,” to honour Liverpool’s vast contribution to national, regional and international development.