Sir David Simmons, K.A., B.C.H., Q.C., LL.M. (Lond.), Hon’y LL.D (Lond.), Hon’y LL.D (UWI)
Sir David Simmons was appointed Chief Justice of Barbados on 1 January 2001. He was born on 28 April 1940 and was educated at the Lodge School, Barbados. Between 1960 and 1965 he studied Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, graduating in 1963, with the LL.B. (Hons.) degree and in 1965, the Master of Laws degree (LL.M).
After lecturing in law in London until 1970, he returned to Barbados and joined the Law Chambers of Mr. Henry Forde, Q.C. Between 1970 and 1975, Sir David lectured part-time in law at the University of the West Indies. In 2003, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the U.W.I. and was also awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) by the University of London – the first Caribbean person to be accorded that high distinction by that University. In 2006, Sir David was elected as an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, the Inn of Court at which he qualified as a Barrister-at-Law in November 1968. In October 2015, he was awarded a second honorary Doctor of Laws degree by UWI.
Sir David has had an outstanding career as a lawyer in Barbados and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1984, in shorter time than anyone else in the legal history of Barbados. Among the highlights of his practice as an attorney-at-law are his successful representation of clients in 32 of 33 murder cases and his success in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the first civil appeal from Barbados in 30 years to that body in the 1982 case of Elias v. Sahely.
From 1976 he served continuously for 25 years in the Parliament of Barbados. In August 2001, he retired from active politics. Appointed twice as Attorney-General of Barbados, (1985 to 1986) and (1994 to 2001), he reformed and modernized the laws of Barbados in a wide variety of areas and represented Barbados at regional and international conferences. He was the Chairman of the Joint U.S/Caribbean Committee which developed a Plan of Action on justice and security issues for signature by Caribbean Heads of Government and President Bill Clinton in 1997. Sir David also acted as Prime Minister of Barbados on many occasions (a total of 316 days) between 1994 and 2000.
CARICOM Heads of Government gave Sir David the task of presiding over the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) during his tenure as Chief Justice of Barbados. Sir David had been one of the original promoters of the CCJ. The Heads appointed him as the first Chairman of the Preparatory Committee to establish the Court (1999-2001) and Chairman of the High Level Task Force to supervise the inauguration of the Court (2004-2005). He was the first Chairman of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (2003-2004)