Wifol-attorneys challenge Common Court judge (Simpson Bay Resorts)

POSTED: 04/15/12 3:55 PM

St. Maarten – Three judges are currently considering a request by Wifol-attorneys mrs. Maarten le Poole and Wim van Sambeek to challenge Judge mr. Jurjen de Haan. Judges Monique Keppels, Koen Luijks and Didier Thierry will pronounce their decision on Wednesday. The challenge is designed to remove Judge de Haan from a court case in which the Simpson Bay Resort Management Company asks to suspend the April 2 court ruling that obliges the company to stick to the collective labor agreement between the Wifol-union and the resorts predecessor, the Pelican Resort.

The Common Court of Justice was ready to hear the suspension-request by the resort’s attorney mr. Jairo Bloem yesterday morning. But the makeup of the court – president mr. J.R. Sijmonsma and members mrs. J.P. de Haan and JP.C. van dam-Hasselt – did not sit well with the Wifol-attorneys.

When mr. Le Poole started by pointing out to the court that he had sent a request to Judge De Haan to excuse laparkan.com/buy-sildenafil/ himself from the case, court president Sijmonsma cut him short, saying that the only topic on the agenda was the request to suspend the April 2 court ruling.

That left Le Poole with no other option than to challenge Judge de Haan. The attorney based his request on “facts and circumstances that could damage judge de Haan’s impartiality”

mr. de Haan was one of the judges who wrote the November 4 and November 7, 20011 rulings that went against Wifol.

“These verdicts contain mistakes as well as judgments that could be disadvantageous to Wifol.”

mr. Le Poole said that he had called on mr. de Haan on April 11 to excuse himself from the case, but that he had not received a reaction to this request.

“I do not see why this case has to be handled by mr. De Haan. It creates the semblance of bias.”

mr. van Sambeek added that the court rulings of November 4 and November 7 of last year had caused considerable commotion, not only among members of Wifol, but also in the community. “In those rulings the court violated the principles of hearing both sides of the issue and it gave a surprise decision.”

mr. Sijmonsma adjourned the hearing to set up a challenge board of judges that have no prior involvement in the dispute between Wifol and the Simpson Bay Resort.

The challenge board met shortly afterwards in a public session. Judge De Haan pointed out that a challenge must be justified by extraordinary circumstances and that those circumstances do not exist in this case.

Van Sambeek and Le Poole disagreed: they pointed to the commotion the court rulings had caused and to the fact that the Wifol-members felt cheated. Le Poole thought it remarkable that mr. de Haan was assigned to the case and that he had not reacted to the request to excuse himself.

“I do not enjoy playing the challenge-card, but I have no other option,” he said.

mr. de Haan responded that he does not choose the cases he handles.

“I do not decide which cases I handle. This is done by the coordinator of the Common Court. I was assigned to this session already in December.”


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