The case of the unseeming rise of Justice Irving Andre

Who is Justice Irving Andre? He is a black Canadian judge with a doctorate in law, a gold medalist in English and a receiver of the African Canadian Achievement Award and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award. What is special about Justice Andre is that he is from the Caribbean having been born in Curacao and raised in Dominica.

Dominica is a small Caribbean island, about the size of Singapore. It has a population of around 75,000. Andre was the 4th child of seven and grew up in an environment where he soon realised that education for him was the only key to achieving his dreams. The young Andre was industrious at school and after getting a US aid scholarship, he graduated with a degree in geography at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He then went on to the USA on a scholarship to further his studies at doctoral level. However, he did not complete this degree, but instead after two years moved to Canada with his girlfriend, another Dominican, whom he had met at the university and who is now his wife.

His move to Canada was tough. Settling in, supporting a growing family he had to deliver newspapers and pamphlets over weekends to make ends meet whilst working as an office clerk. A year later, he began law studies. “ offered the promise of being able to work independently of others and being able to make a difference,” he comments.  Having qualified as a lawyer, he practised criminal law for almost ten years and was admitted to the bench in 2002 upon a distinguished record at the criminal bar.

[Law & Courts Contributor]

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