News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – The Supreme Court of Bermuda held a Special Sitting to commemorate the retirement of The Hon Mrs Justice Charles-Etta G Simmons, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court for Bermuda.  The Sitting was held in Court No 1, Sessions House.

Mrs Justice Simmons was first appointed to the Supreme Court as an Assistant Justice in 1999 up until her substantive appointment in 2003.  She is the first Bermuda-born (Daughter of the soil) black female judge of the Court and has provided nearly thirty years of judicial service to the courts of Bermuda.  Prior to her appointment as Judge, she served as a Magistrate, Registrar of the Supreme Court and Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Solicitor-General, and has acted on several occasions as a Justice of Appeal in the Bermuda Court of Appeal.

During her career as a judge, and previously a public servant, Justice Simmons has served on a variety of civic boards which include Chairman of the Legal Aid Committee, Bermuda Representative of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers, Chairman of the Roundtable on Domestic Violence, just to name a few.  She has contributed to the anti-money laundering landscape through her participation with the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce Bermuda assessment.  She also acted on several occasions as Chief Justice of Bermuda. 

She is widely known for her most recent landmark judgment in Godwin and Deroche et al v The Registrar General et al [2017] SC (Bda) 36 Civ, Bermuda’s first same sex marriage case concerning a Bermudian and Canadian nationals who brought their case to the Supreme Court to judicially review a decision of the Registrar-General who refused to issue them a license to marry.  This authoritative ruling would later go on to become a precedent for a subsequent same sex judicial review – Ferguson et al v The Attorney-General – which was appealed right up to the Privy Council.  Whilst regarded as a generalist jurist, she is well known for predominantly sitting in the criminal jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.