Jamaican judge lauded by peers in Bermuda on her retirement

Sunday, May 22, 2016

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HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) – Bermuda’s legal community have paid tribute to Jamaican puisne judge Norma Wade-Miller at a special ceremony in Hamilton.
Her peers, friends and family packed into Court one of the Dame Lois Browne Evans Building to wish her well in retirement.
Chief Justice Ian Kawaley called Wade-Miller “the complete judge” and “an outstanding role model” in her 35 years of service since arriving on the island from her native Jamaica.
Once married to an Opposition Leader, she was the first woman in Bermuda to be appointed as a substantive magistrate, then as a high court judge, as well as the island’s first female acting chief justice.
Wade-Miller also served as chair of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for the past 25 years, she chaired the Judicial Training Institute of Bermuda since 2008, and as Bermuda’s representative in the International Hague Network of Judges since 2012.
Kawaley spoke about Wade-Miller’s time as chair of the Justice System Review Committee and the Family Law Reform Subcommittee, calling them “important initiatives which have borne bountiful fruit”.
Larry Mussenden, the newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions, was among those who shared their memories of working with her, as well as their admiration and gratitude.
“Your presence in the courtroom has always been a calming factor in trials,” Mussenden said. “You have a way of making sure the most serious matter is heard properly and fairly on both sides.”
Richard Horseman, president of the Bermuda Bar Association, said: “You set a path for others and through your efforts you have helped shape the direction of law in Bermuda. All my brothers and sisters recognise your distinguished career. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.”
Wade-Miller thanked the speakers for their “thoughtful and generous” tributes, and called the event “a bitter-sweet moment”.
“I leave the bench in a reflective mood, but with many happy memories,” she said.
“I look forward to continuing to make a contribution towards the betterment of our society in the meaningful, albeit less conspicuous ways, that retirement allows.”
Wade-Miller was the second wife of Frederick Wade, who was Opposition Leader for 11 years under the Progressive Labour Party (PLP).
The couple later divorced. Wade died at the age of 57, two years before the PLP ousted the now defunct United Bermuda Party from power in 1998.
The PLP named Bermuda’s international airport after him.
Magistrate Nicole Stoneham has been appointed a puisne judge of the Bermuda Supreme Court in Wade-Miller’s place, having served as a magistrate since 2010, mainly in the Family Court.

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