The local media announced on March 17, 2011, that the President of the Republic of Seychelles has approved the appointment of Mrs Mathilda Twomey (nee Butler-Payette) as a Justice of Appeal. Mrs Twomey will become the first ever woman appointed as a judicial officer in Seychelles higher in position than that of a Magistrate.
According to the March 19, 2011 edition of the new daily newspaper in Seychelles - Today in Seychelles, Mrs Twomey's appointment has found almost unanimous approval from the legal community. Positive reviews have come from senior lawyers such as France Bonte and Conrad Lablache. The Bar Association of Seychelles ("BAS") has been quoted as stating that Mrs Twomey fits the additional criteria that BAS believes a judge should have - that of considerable litigation experience. Too often in the past, lawyers who have hardly seen a courtroom have been appointed to the bench, and their lack of knowledge on legal procedure and evidence is exposed, to the detriment of the Seychelles legal system and the public.
Mrs Twomey completed her law degree from the University of Kent and was then called as a Barrister of England and Wales. She served as a Government lawyer at the Attorney General's Office, eventually rising to the posts of Senior State Counsel and Official Notary. She then went into private practice, founding the law firm of Pardiwalla Twomey (now Pardiwalla Twomey Lablache) with former Attorney General Mr Pesi Pardiwalla SC. Mrs Twomey was also part of the commitee that drafted the present Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles in 1992-1993. Since 1995, she has been residing in Ireland. Mrs Twomey is not expected to become a resident Justice of Appeal, instead, she will sit whenever the Court of Appeal is in full session (generally in April, August and December each year).
Despite being away for several years, Mrs Twomey has kept herself up to date with the latest legal developments in Seychelles, going so far as to be currently reading for a masters in law with a dissertation topic on piracy - an issue that has plagued the Seychelles lately. In fact, many of the lawyers are pleased that someone known to possess a sharp legal mind and thorough legal knowledge of the Seychelles legal system has been appointed to the highest court of the land.
The Robing Room is the official blog of the Seychelles Legal Environment Website (sites.google.com/site/theseychelleslegalenvironment), the only website about the Seychelles Legal Environment that is constantly updated.