Court of Appeal grants application for a stay in ‘vaccine mandate’ case

By Demion McTair. Updated 5: 07 p.m., Thursday, April 20, 2023, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

The Court of Appeal, on April 18, ordered that an application for a stay of the High Court judgment and order of Justice Esco Henry delivered on 13th March 2023 in the “vaccine mandate case” is granted.

According to, Stay is an action taken by a court to stop a legal proceeding or the actions of a party.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling is likely to mean that the High Court’s March 13 judgement on the ‘Vaccine mandate’ case cannot be executed pending the decisions of the Court of Appeal on the case.

The March 13, 2023 ruling by the High Court:

In a March 13 judgement, High Court judge – Justice Esco Henry had ruled, among other things, that the decisions of the Public Service Commission, the Police Service Commission, and the Commissioner of Police under the government’s Statutory Rules and Orders No. 28 of 2021 (known as the vaccine mandate) were a breach of natural justice, unlawful, procedurally improper, and void.

Scores of public sector workers had lost their jobs for failing to take a Covid-19 vaccine which the government had argued was a necessary step during the 2021 Covid-19 pandemic to protect public health and safety among certain categories of workers it had deemed to be frontline workers.

Some of the affected workers took the government to court and the High Court ruled in their favour.

Part of the March 13, 2023, High Court ruling by Justice Esco Henry stated that none of the claimants ceased to hold the public offices to which they had been appointed and held at the relevant times, and they remain entitled to all their full pay and benefits due and payable to them, including pensions.

After her March 13, 2023 ruling several workers affected by the SR&O No. 28 of 2021, known as the vaccine mandate showed up for work.

But the government appealed the ruling and applied for a stay of the execution of the order of the High Court so as to wait until the decision of the Court of Appeal is made before any action on the judgement could be taken.

The application for a stay was made jointly on behalf of the appellants – The Minister of Health and the Environment, The Public Service Commission, The Commissioner of Police, and Attorney General, and the Police Service Commission.

The April 18, 2023 High Court Ruling:

On April 18, the Court of Appeal ordered that application for a stay of the High Court’s judgement be granted, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

The application for a stay case was heard before His Lordship, the Hon. Mr. Paul Webster, Justice of Appeal [Ag.] on the 18th day of April, 2023.

His Lordship said that upon the court “being satisfied that the applicants have reasonable prospects of success on appeal, that there is cogent evidence that the appeal will be rendered nugatory unless a stay is granted, and that the appeal concerns matters of public importance;

AND UPON THE COURT CONSIDERING all of the circumstances of the case and determining that the applicants have met the threshold for the grant of a stay of execution;


The application for a stay of the judgment and order of Esco Henry J delivered on 13th March 2023 pending the hearing and determination of the appeal is granted.

Read the full judgement here.

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