Friday, April 4th, 2014 -- The legal fraternity in the British Virgin Islands has lost one of its greatest stalwarts, Dr. J. S. Archibald, QC. Dr. Archibald passed away about mid-night at his McNamara home in Road Town, Tortola, according to a source close to the family. He is the husband of Deputy Governor V. Inez Archibald, and also founder of the law firm J.S. Archibald & Co.
The law firm, which is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious within the Caribbean, is part of the Archibalds BVI Group, which also consists of a trust entity.
Dr. Archibald was born and raised in St. Kitts. He was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn, London on July 12, 1960.
Dr. Archibald served in various capacities throughout the Caribbean including Magistrate, High Court Registrar, Senior Crown Counsel, President of the Civil Service Association, and Director of Prosecutions.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, in 2005, presented a biography on Dr. Archibald. The following is an excerpt from that piece:
Joseph Samuel Archibald, QC., was born in St. Kitts. He was educated at the Basseterre Boys’ Primary School and on scholarship at the St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School in St. Kitts.
He was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn, London on July 12, 1960. He holds the Inns of Court Special Certificate in Public International Law, London, 1960. He was also a Magistrate, the High Court Registrar, Senior Crown Counsel, President of the Civil Service Association, and Director of Prosecutions.
Mr. Archibald served as Attorney General in St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla from 1960-1964 and 1966-1968. He was Crown Attorney (Principal Law Officer of the Government – now styled Attorney General).
He served as a Member of the Executive and Legislative Councils, and an Administrator’s Deputy on two occasions administering the Government of the British Virgin Islands in the absence of the United Kingdom-appointed Administrator, Mr. Martin Staveley.
Mr. Archibald was the Leader of the British Virgin Islands overseas delegation on the Economic Integration in the Caribbean, Chairman of the Legislative Council Committees for Constitutional Reform in the British Virgin Islands from 1964 to 1965.
Mr. Archibald has been a private law practitioner and trial lawyer from 1968 in the Eastern Caribbean from Chambers in the British Virgin Islands with practice at all Court levels in the Caribbean up to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England.
He was a Member of the Constitutional and International Arbitration Committees of the Washington-based World Association of Lawyers (now known as the World Jurist Association) 1977-2004.
Mr. Archibald’s name was inscribed on the Rule of Law Monument among 18 names of outstanding Members of the World Jurist Association and donors of the Monument which stands in St. Margarethen, Austria. He was a Patron Member of the World Jurist Association in December 2003.
In 1978, Mr. Archibald was the Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of the West Indies assigned to Dominica. He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1980. He was President of the BVI Bar Association from 1986-1994. He was Member of the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association from 1987-2004.
Mr. Archibald was appointed by the Heads of Governments of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States as Chairman of a new Committee of Attorneys-General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States for the creation of a single Judicial and Legal Service from 1988-1996. Also, he was a Member of a three-man panel of international lawyers appointed to evaluate the Justice System in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and Barbados under the USAID/UWI Justice Improvement Project 1989.
In March 1991, Mr. Archibald was elected Founding President of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Bar Association (“the OECS Bar”). He was re-elected President of the OECS Bar from March 1993 to July 1996, and was appointed Chairman of its Ethics and Discipline Committee. He was elected as the first Chairman of the newly created Disciplinary Committee of the St. Kitts – Nevis Bar Association from 1993-2002.
Mr. Archibald was appointed Chairman of the BVI Bar Committee to explore the possibility of establishing a BVI Commercial Court with High Court Jurisdiction from 1996-2004.
He delivered the Inaugural Sir Archibald Nedd Memorial Lecture in Grenada, West Indies on “Essentials for a West Indies Supreme Court” to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the Final Appellate Court for Commonwealth Caribbean States and Territories in July 1996. This lecture was published verbatim as feature article pages 4 and 5 of the November/December 1996 issue of “The World Jurist.”
Mr. Archibald was Acting Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court assigned to St. Lucia in 1998. He served as a Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court from May 2001 to October 2001. He was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to be Chairman of the Civil Justice Task Force relating to the working and implementation of the new Civil Procedure Rules 2000 of the Supreme Court.
He delivered an invited Address on February 25, 2002, entitled “The Changing Role of the Judge in the Modern Society” to all the assembled Judges of the Court of Appeal and the High Court of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and also the Chancellor of the Supreme Court of Guyana on the Occasion of the Orientation Programme for 7 new judges in St. Lucia. He served as a Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court during sittings in Grenada in July 2002.
In September, 2002, Mr. Archibald delivered the Feature Address at the Fourth Annual St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister’s Independence Lecture Series on “A Nevisian Family in St. Kitts: A 100-Year Glance – Dignity, Discipline, Purpose, Independence” at the Basseterre High School Auditorium, St. Kitts.
He is married to the former Miss Inez Hodge of the British Virgin Islands who became the Speaker of the Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands in July 2003. There are three adult daughters of the marriage.
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