Mr. Karl Hudson-Phillips QC


Mr. Karl Terrence Hudson-Phillips served as a Member of the House of Representatives between 1966 to 1976 and Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago between 1969 to 1973.

Mr. Hudson Phillips obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Law), Bachelor of Law and Master of Arts from the University of Cambridge. He was called to the Bar of the United Kingdom by the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn in 1959 and to the Bar of Trinidad and Tobago in the same year. In 1970 he was appointed Queen's Counsel at the Bar of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr. Hudson Phillips held many professional offices including President of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (1999-2002), Judge of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands (2003-2007) and in July 2010, Chairman of the Fact Finding Mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva to investigate Israeli interception of flotilla ships heading to Gaza resulting in fatalities.

Mr. Hudson-Phillips authored several publications on the topics of settling trade disputes, public participation in the legislative process and arbitration.

Mr. Hudson-Phillips passed away on January 15, 2014.

[The following text is taken from Mr. Hudson-Phillips' curriculum vitae]

Mr. Karl Terrence Hudson-Phillips has practised extensively in all the common law jurisdictions in the Caribbean from the Bahamas in the north to Guyana in the South. Over the last three and one half decades he has been involved in almost every major criminal prosecution in the Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago. His appearances for the defence have ranged from charges of treason in St. Kitts (1967-1968) to a more recent defence in Trinidad and Tobago on a charge of manslaughter. In the latter case he successfully challenged the statutory right of appeal against directed verdicts of not guilty. This matter was reversed on appeal to the Privy Council. His first major defense was in the case of R-v-Kilgour [1960] 3WIR6 shortly after being called to the Bar in Trinidad and Tobago.

On the prosecution side he has appeared in several major cases in the Caribbean. He successfully prosecuted at first instance a former Premier of Antigua and Barbuda for corruption and misbehaviour in public office (1978). This conviction was reversed on appeal. He has also successfully prosecuted two former Attorneys General (St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) for fraud and misbehaviour in public office. [See R-v-Williams above]. As Attorney General in 1972 he appeared in person in the celebrated trial of Michael de Freitas a.k.a. Abdool Malik for the murder of the socialite daughter of a U.K. Member of Parliament. As Attorney General he also prosecuted Stanley Abott in which the nonavailability of the defense of duress in murder was established. He led the prosecution team in the trials of eighteen accused of the murder in Grenada in 1983 of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and his Cabinet. This trial lasted eight months and resulted in convictions of murder and manslaughter. An appeal against these convictions in which Hudson-Phillips appeared for the respondent was dismissed.

He has appeared in several extradition matters on behalf of foreign governments and fugitive offenders. His appearances in matters concerning dangerous drugs have been for the prosecution. He has also appeared for the prosecution in murder trials associated with the traffic in dangerous drugs.

All of the Constitutions in the Caribbean contain fundamental rights provisions based on the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Both in association with his career at the Criminal Bar and in his own right as a constitutional lawyer, Hudson-Phillips has appeared extensively in human rights matters in the Caribbean. As early as in 1978 he appeared for the applicant before the Constitutional Court in Jamaica [see Grant & Others v. Attorney General Jamaica] concerning the question of pre-trial publicity and its effect on due process in the criminal trial. He had previously appeared in the Privy Council in the matter of McBean-v- R. (see above) arguing the question of the right of an accused person to be present for the whole of his trial. Arising out of the prosecutions for the murder of Prime Minister Bishop several constitutional motions were filed against the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General in Grenada for whom Hudson-Phillips appeared. Issues concerning the legitimacy of the court system under a revolutionary government were argued as well as the application of the principles of the law of necessity.

As Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago in 1970 he was faced with the daunting task of ensuring fairness and due process in the trial under military law of members of the local army who had mutinied imprisoning all officers eligible to serve on Courts Martial. He was instrumental in proposing amendments to the Defense Force Act to permit military officers from Commonwealth countries to sit on Courts Martial into military offences in Trinidad and Tobago. Such officers came from Ghana, Nigeria, Singapore, Guyana, Uganda and Kenya. A Judge Advocate General came from Ghana.

In addition to his extensive practice at the criminal bar, Hudson-Phillips has appeared in a wide range of matters in all fields of the law except tax and environmental law matters. He was briefed in 2002 before a Commission of Inquiry in Antigua into allegations of misconduct in relation to the statutory Medical Benefits Scheme in that country. He had previously, in 1987, sat as Chairman of a Commission of Inquiry into the Royal St. Lucian Police Service and has been involved in international arbitration. In 1997 he contributed an article on the Law and Practice of Arbitration in Trinidad and Tobago to the ICC International Court of Arbitration Bulletin.

He found the time to be President of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago, the statutory body to which all practicing members of the bar in Trinidad and Tobago are required to belong. He also serves as one of seven directors of the Board of the Judicial Studies Center of the Americas which has headquarters in Santiago, Chile. He was elected to this body in 2000 by the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States securing the highest number of votes of all the candidates. In July 2002 he was re-elected to the Board unopposed for a further term of three years. In 1999 he was nominated to the Council of the Commonwealth Law Association.

In July 2010 he was appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva to head a Fact Finding Mission into interception by Israeli forces of a flotilla of ships taking humanitarian aid to Gaza. As Chairman of the Mission he defended its report before a plenary of the Human Rights Committee on the 27th September 2010 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The report is published at

Mr. Hudson-Phillips was Head of Chambers at the Henry Hudson-Phillips Building, St. Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain until his passing in January 2014.