Decision of the Full Court of Jamaica in Bain v The UWI

On July 31, 2017, the Full Court of Jamaica gave its decision in the litigation brought by Professor Brendon Bain in 2014, following the termination of his contract with The UWI as head of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART). Link to Bain Case 

 

Prof. Bain gave expert evidence in Orozco at the request of the Interested Parties who are churches. The Belize Supreme Court Rules make special provision for Expert Evidence to be provided ‘to assist the court’ in an impartial way on matters within the expert’s expertise. 

 

The Full Court found that The UWI breached Professor Bain’s right to freedom of expression, finding that his termination was caused by his expert evidence in Belize. He received a declaration that his rights had been infringed and was awarded approximately $4 Million JMD in lieu of the three months’ notice required to terminate the contract. The Full Court rejected his claim for ‘vindicatory damages’.

 

Professor Bain also sought substantial damages for defamation and for breach of the implied term of trust and confidence that is implied in the employment contract. The Full Court rejected both these claims. He was awarded 20% of his legal costs by the Full Court.

 

The Chief Justice of Belize in his August 2016 decision in Orozco cited the expert report provided by Prof Brendan Bain, to the effect that there has been no published data to support the hypothesis linking decriminalization with reduction in infection rates among MSM. The CJ concluded that ‘given the state of the evidence before the Court, it is more likely than not that the retention of section 53 as it relates to MSM hinders rather than aids testing and treatment as a matter of public health’. None of the appeals filed takes issue with this aspect of the CJ’s decision.

(link to the 10 August decision)

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