Local lawyers call for judges to live in Cayman

| 02/05/2017 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service

Bermuda Chief Justice Kawaley

(CNS): Following the appointment of six new acting judges to the general bench last month and two part-time but permanent judges to the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court, the Caymanian Bar Association has called for future justices to be resident in the Cayman Islands. The organisation said it believes it’s in the public interest for judges in the Grand Court to live here.

Last week local officials released the details of the eight new appointments, which were selected by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission and confirmed by the governor, but very few of them live locally.

Most of the acting judges reside overseas and they will come to Cayman as and when they are needed, which local legal experts say is not unusual. But the permanent appointments of part-time justices who do not live here has caused some concern for members of the legal profession, who believe it would be better if members of the judiciary are resident on the island.

“We welcome our six newly appointed acting judges and Chief Justice Kawaley and Mr Raj Parker, who have recently been sworn in as Grand Court Judges (and part-time judges) in the Financial Services Division,” the CBA said in a short statement. “They are obviously able appointees. The public should know though that the legal profession is not consulted at all about judicial appointments.” 

The CBA added that in its view “it is in the public interest that our judiciary should, if possible, be resident here. We hope that view will be taken into consideration in respect of appointments in future”.

See Two new faces for financial court bench on CNS Business

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Category: Courts, Crime, Local News

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    ohh well….next?….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they can’t afford to live here..

    • Our turn next says:

      the good old boys network is at it again huh?. Well, lets keep on getting Foreign judges, places the old network in check and diminishes the corruption level that exists within their domain,.

  3. Anonymous says:

    HAHAHA! So the CBA wants all judges to live in Cayman but its ok that the lawyers practicing Cayman law have never set foot here and are not qualified?!?! CBA should just wind up- take the CILS with you!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Folks, it doesn’t matter. In the financial division, the cases and the litigants have no physical connection with Cayman either. The real issue is paying these judges. Fees should be imposed to cover the direct cost of foreign financial litigation. Alternatively the judges should be paid on a piecework or per diem basis.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ah yes, difficult to bribe or threaten if they are not here!

  6. Al Catraz says:

    I agree. It is too hard to find out the personal habits, financial interests, social connections and vulnerabilities of judges who do not live here, so that they can be used to beneficial effect.

    • Sir Humphrey says:

      Yes, if they don’t live here they can’t be house-trained properly. It’s a vital part of our system of justice.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And for all QC appointments to be Caymanians.

  8. Anonymous says:

    No-one really cares what the CBA says. It is a union whose main aim seems to be to allow their members, selected on the basis of nationality alone, to make more moeny soleley because of their nationality. What the CILS says matters.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you’re confused.. it’s in place to support the British old boys (paper Caymanians) society. Its a entirely useless and dishonest

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the court no longer meets in Cayman how will the judges get to know the Cayman Islands? The practice of trails by video conference with the Judge overseas is now occurring too often in Cayman.

    • Al Catraz says:

      Or indeed, how will Cayman get to know them, like, personally… in the back room after a cigar?

    • Anonymous says:

      There has never been a trial by video conference. Stop spouting nonsense.

      • Fred says:

        No shortage of interlocutor applications by phone or video though. And the Saad trial had months of evidence and cross examination by video.

        • Anonymous says:

          As does any modern commercial court. In Australia federal hearings are common with judges and parties appearing by video with the judges all being in different states (or territories for the pedants) and the advocates being someone else entirely.

      • Anonymous says:


  10. Anonymous says:

    Next, local lawyers call for police to live in Cayman.

  11. Anonymous says:

    #Locals demand that at least 51% of judges be Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you read the comments on some articles here, and other articles by certain Caymanians? Careful what you wish for…you might just get it and God help you should you have to go to court.

  12. lord Den says:

    This is the same agrument about attorneys be able to practice Cayman law who do not reside in the Cayman islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      As far as I’m aware, in no advanced jurisdiction is its legal profession consulted on the appointment of judges. It’s usually done by constitutional commission, in our case the Judicial and Legal Services Commisdion.

      All judicial positions are advertised here as well as overseas, and the best candidates selected from those who apply.

      No Cayman judge can be a practicing litigator here, which leaves a tiny pool of resident retired lawyers who might be qualified but probably have no wish to join the bench anyway. There’s huge case pressure, so a pool has to be appointed from which the Chief Justice can pick the right person for any particular case. Pretty sensible, really.

      Anyone who seriously thinks we can persuade overseas judges to uproot and settle here is deluded. Unless, that is, they’re exclusively from third world jurisdictions or we triple their salaries. Neither of which we want.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with most of that, but paying Judges more is probably the answer. I was earning more than the CJ within a year or two of qualifying – and the people who are senior enough to take the role will be earning many times that.

        You get what you pay for goes for politicians too. If we cut the number of MLAs down to 5 and paid them triple the salary, we might actually have someone worth voting for!

        • Anonymous says:

          Then you were being paid too much. I never understand why lawyers & accountants can charge so much but the teacher who taught them earns a 1/4 of their salary. And if their toilet is blocked they think that the plumber is charging too much.

        • Anonymous says:

          No we wouldn’t because only a very few so called born Caymanians can run. The pool of talent is very small and very very shallow.

        • Anonymous says:

          I agree with everything except tripling the pay… Halve it and outlaw double-dipping pensions on the government (people’s) purse and robbing visiting workers of theirs.

      • Anonymous says:

        No Caymanian can be a practising litigator here. It is much too easy to temporarily import even junior lawyers from overseas.

      • Anonymous says:

        The issue is non resident judges and trails by video conference. How can that be a good for the jurisdiction?

        • Anonymous says:

          Well that has never ever happened. So it is not a problem.

          • Anonymous says:

            Video hearings with the judge in London happen all the time.. for matters relating to financial services. Speak to any litigation lawyer in Cayman who does financial services litigation

      • Anonymous says:

        Can you name a country where the judges sitting in the equivalent of our Grand Court do not live or hear cases in that country?

        Why should we allow this in Cayman? Even our Court of Appeal judges hold trials in Cayman.

        These judges once recruited need to relocate to Cayman. We have some Cayman judges who do not live hear but rather hear cases by video conference sitting in London. The practice now continues…

        • Anonymous says:

          The USA judges everyone all the time…arrests people all over the world on the basis that they trade or carried out business in the Yankee Dollar. Not quite the same, but severe overreach nonetheless. Russian conducts extra judicial killings globally. It would appear the not nice Korea does too. I don’t think its where they sit that matters, its their competence to do the job. Competence is not confirmed by living in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually you raise a good if unrelated point. The habit of one particular judge to conduct hearings from New York City is extraordinarily dangerous and should be stopped. But the Chief Justice doesn’t dare challenge him.

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