Prominent and well-respected Caribbean jurist, Dame Bernice Lake, QC passed away on Saturday afternoon following a brief illness. Dame Bernice was 78 years old.
Tributes to Dame Bernice have poured in from all quarters of the legal profession in the region and beyond, as Dame Bernice was a stalwart in the area of constitutional law and human rights. The Antigua Observer reports that the Dame was the first woman in the Eastern Caribbean and the first UWI graduate to be bestowed the distinguished title of QC.
Born in Anguilla, Dame Bernice eventually made Antigua her adopted home. She was still active in Anguilla however, as she was the main brain behind the Anguilla constitution in 1975. Her constitutional work was also relevant in Antigua as she was a member of the team that drafted the Antigua and Barbuda constitution in 1981.
In recognition of her long standing work and many accomplishments, in July, the Anguilla Bar Association announced the launch of the Dame Dr Bernice Lake, QC Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the fund as presented by the Anguilla Bar Association is to annually give US$5000 in financial support to a Caribbean student enrolled at the University of the West Indies Law Faculty who excels in Constitutional Law. Also the The Dame Dr. Bernie Lake, QC Award would be given to the most Outstanding Student of CAPE A-Level Law at Anguilla's Sixth Form College.
Speaking about the Dame Bernice Awards, President of the Anguilla Bar Association, Yvette Wallace said. "The Anguilla Bar is very hopeful that the scholarship and award will not only reward those who have achieved a level of excellence in the particular course or subject, but will serve to educate and inspire the next generation of legal minds to be leaders at a critical time when nation-building is paramount, just like Dame Bernice stepped up to the plate when it really mattered."'
Antigua/Barbuda knighted Dame Bernice in 2004, for her contribution to the legal field, her stance on women's issues, civil and political rights and personal integrity.
In 2007 the University of the West Indies conferred an Honourary Doctorate of Law Degree upon her.
The law career of Dame Bernice Lake, QC spanned over 40 years.
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