BARBADOS: – The Caribbean is mourning the passing of distinguished jurist Sir Lisle Austin Ward, QC.

On Monday morning, Sir Lisle, 85, former Chief Justice of Bermuda, passed away at his home at Springvale, St Andrew, Barbados. His wife Francisca Lady Ward was with him.
Born on November 14, 1935, he attended Harrison College and Middle Temple in London. In 1969, he migrated to Bermuda to pursue his legal career which included private practice, Registrar of the Supreme Court, Solicitor General, Puisne Judge, Justice of Appeal and Chief Justice from 1993 to 2004.
In 1983, Sir Austin entered the roll of Queen’s Counsel and in 2009, was conferred the rank of Knight Bachelor. On occasion, he acted as Deputy Governor and Attorney General of Bermuda.

He also chaired the three-man Commission of Inquiry comprising Sir Elliott Belgrave and retired Anglican priest Canon Andrew Hatch into the 2005 Glendairy Prisons Fire.

The son of Sir Erskine Ward, the former Speaker of the West Indies Federal Parliament, and Rosa Bowen, he was preceded in death by his late brothers Professor Eugene Ward and Dr Tony Ward and late sister Earla Grannum. He is mourned by his wife, daughters Rosa and Désirée, grandchildren, Kyle and Kristen, and wider relatives and friends.

Expressions of condolence were conveyed by relatives, friends and colleagues in Barbados including Sir Philip Greaves, Sir Henry Forde, Sir David Simmons and Sir Elliott Mottley.

Bermuda’s Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Reform, Kathy Simmons, also expressed condolences on the passing of the former Chief Justice.

“Sir Austin migrated to Bermuda from Barbados to pursue his legal career in Bermuda which spanned several decades,” she said.

“His work included private practice, then rising through the judicial ranks as Magistrate, Registrar of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, Solicitor General, Puisne Judge, and Chief Justice. Upon his retirement as Chief Justice in 2004, Sir Austin served as a Justice of Appeal on the Court of Appeal from 2004-2013.  Accolades of his contributions and stature were resolute and unmatched upon his retirement.

“In addition to having a distinguished career on the bench, Sir Austin had also served as acting Attorney-General in the 1990s. Colleagues at the Attorney-General’s Chambers, both past and present, remember Sir Austin Ward as a distinguished jurist, and a dedicated public servant. He adopted Bermuda as his home in a quiet and reserved manner, always observing the letter of the law.

“He has left a legacy of fairness, integrity and had contributed invaluably to Bermuda’s jurisprudence.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Lady Francesca Ward and family.”