Law professor Rudy James dies

Rudy James

Distinguished law professor Rudy James, who taught in Guyana and in Africa for many decades, passed away on Monday in the United States, where he had gone to seek treatment for an  illness sometime last year.

He was 85.

Attorney General Basil Williams expressed shock at James’ passing, even as he showered praises on him for his contributions to the law fraternity in Guyana and more specifically his personal help to the Attorney General’s Chambers.

“He was accomplished as a professor and has contributed dearly to the University of Guyana and the development of our law students. Even up to the time he took ill, he was still advising me…,” Williams told Stabroek News yesterday

The Attorney General lamented that with James’ passing, he takes with him a wealth of “institutional knowledge.” He added that he is forever indebted to him for sharing his knowledge, including specifically in the matter of the establishment of a law school here.

“He had been around when the whole thing started under the last government and he was the one who helped me to overcome the hurdle. He showed me certain documents—that the process was well advanced. I am deeply indebted to him for helping me to cross that hurdle,” Williams said.

“We will miss him. He was also a member of the ‘Wise Men’ advisory group, as I called them. It was always filled with rich discussions when Professor James, Professor Lutchman, Justice Duke Pollard, Justice Patterson and Justice Claudette Singh were there, and to just sit among them and listen to the learned ones speak. He is going to be greatly missed…,” he added.

James’ colleague and friend, Professor Harold Lutchman, spoke glowingly of the law professor, whom he said always took the time to ensure his students understood the content being taught.

“He was very easy-going and got along well with all of his colleagues. This is a man that was very approachable and did not have any airs about him at all. You have some people who are so brilliant they project themselves that people are afraid to approach them. Professor James was that brilliant but without any haughtiness, none. His students could always come to him after class and ask, again and again, for explanations. He worked in Africa and other places and this is the same attitude,” Lutchman said.

Lutchman and James co-authored a book, titled, ‘Law and the Political Environment in Guyana.’

“Professor James’ passing is indeed a blow to the law fraternity because while I left, he continued and up to last year was with the AG’s Chamber,” he added.

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