Chief justice accuses CIG of ignoring judicial crisis

| 18/01/2018 | 126 Comments
Cayman News Service

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie

(CNS): Chief Justice Anthony Smellie pulled no punches in his address at the 2018 Opening of the Grand Court Wednesday, when he criticised the government for failing to understand the constitutional crisis in the justice system and the urgent need for a new court-house. He has raised the issue almost every year  because the current facilities cannot accommodate the number of cases coming before the courts. But yesterday Justice Smellie accused government of cutting the cash needed to buy land from the budget without explanation and failing to respond to his letter, despite a previous commitment to the project.

“This new and sudden demonstration of indifference by government can at best be seen as a failure to understand the true nature of the difficulties confronting the administration, as we struggle from year to year to ensure that people receive timely justice,” Cayman’s top judge said.

In a speech in which he spelled out the dire situation, he also said there was no point in giving his usual statistical analysis of case disposal.

“Given the prevailing circumstances… about the court building project, such a report, it seems to me, would be an exercise in futility. It is pointless discussing matters such as the rate of case disposal for the sake of reassuring the public that we can deliver justice in a timely fashion, while knowing that there are no plans in place which will allow us to continue to do so,” he said in a stark admission of the challenges face by judicial administration.

“Neither the government nor the public should be in any doubt what the consequences will be if we continue to fail to provide adequate court facilities,” the CJ said, noting that 100 Grand Court criminal cases and 674 summary cases had been carried over from 2017 into this year because of the crisis of court space.

During the Finance Committee meeting in November, legislators heard that the government had shelved the court-house project because the business cases outlined by PricewaterhouseCoppers were all too expensive. In his address, the chief justice explained that a decision had been made to revert to a less costly 2008 plan. But with government withdrawing funding and, apparently, its commitment to addressing the issue, the chief justice said he would have to make the case again for a court for the benefit of both government and the public.

After reading out a letter he sent to government in November about the pressing need to get the project off the ground, he told the court that government has still not responded to the correspondence, which was sent to both the premier and the finance minister, who were both sitting in the court as the CJ urged the Cabinet to do something. The letter pointed out that without a new facility the judiciary is in real danger of failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to administer justice because they don’t have the room to do it.

In addition to the massive criminal case load, the chief justice noted the negative and embarrassing impact the lack of facilities was having on the international legal cases heard in Cayman. He said the present situation “betrays a lack of vision” by the government, as well as “a lamentable lack of appreciation for the importance to Cayman of the Courts’ ability to resolve, in a timely manner, the hundreds of complex international cases in the financial courts.

“Last year alone 286 such cases were filed. Unreasonable delay in the adjudication of any one of these cases could result in serious impairment to the reputation of the Islands as a leading financial center. I emphasise again this year how very real that potential embarrassment is becoming,” CJ Smellie stated, as he offered examples of the challenges the lack of facilities is creating.

He explained that in the year-long widely publicised trial of the AHAB case the parties had to foot the considerable bill themselves for the court to be refitted to accommodate the technical equipment and legal teams. In another financial trial, the parties had to pay to fit out a conference room at a local hotel so the case could be dealt with and avoid a costly postponement because there was not room in the official court facilities.

CJ Smellie added that it was not uncommon for lawyers appearing here who work around the world to express disbelief at the state of Cayman’s court facilities by comparison to competing jurisdictions. “They fairly describe our court facilities as ‘shabby, cramped and wholly inadequate’,” he said.

People choose to do business in Cayman, Smellie explained, largely because of the judicial system’s reputation for independence, integrity, incorruptibility and efficiency. But when hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars are at stake the current inefficiency becomes intolerable.

“Without in the slightest overstating the position, that is exactly the outcome soon to become the norm, unless the current attitude of governmental neglect is reversed,” he warned.

He said the criminal side was equally important, where trials and cases are constantly adjourned, bail hearings are being made in cramped offices over lunch, and hearings for violent offenders are held in insecure court rooms where defendants, juries, court staff and judges are all entering through the same door at the same time. He pointed out that during 2017 the only reason the courts had avoided complete gridlock was because of the hard work of staff and because of coordination using the new electronic court diary.

But Smellie urged government to get the project back on track and fund the land acquisition in this budget before the entire justice system grinds to a halt.

See the CJ’s address, letter to the finance minister and statistical report in the CNS Library

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Category: Courts, Crime, Government Finance, Politics

Comments (126)

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  1. A. Jones says:

    Justice Smellie and Premier:
    Can they refurbish an existing building or two for the cases. Why not use the buildings you have and stop the talk of spending millions of borrowed money.
    Debt is a bad thing for any Country.
    McKeeva locked up and just in a tacky way put ugly fences around lots of government property. Use what you have and stop the unrealistic talk. Dispose the cases and farm out the others to other jurisdictions. Get real about spending money you don’t have!

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly…spend $15 million upgrading and outfitting the Tower building.
      Well located, plenty of parking and already owned by govt….no need to waste tens of millions on a national monument .

    • Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky says:

      A government is not an individual, government debt is not the same as individual debt
      If the Government only spent what they have they would literally provide no services

      The entire notion of government budgeting is spending money that you do not have currently but are anticipating receiving somewhere down the line

      Debt is perfectly normal for any country (some economists will argue that government debt is necessary for a healthy economy)
      As long as the debt does not run out of control and the interest payments are manageable

      Investing in the needs of our country is not wasteful spending please stop pretending it is, the government is not a for-profit entity keep your private sector mindset in the private sector

      and finally please stop trying to be an economist when clearly you have no idea what you are talking about

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m thinking Trumps fault…yep
    Dilly Dilly!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The premier has thrown out an unquantified figure of Ci$170,000+ for the cost of new court premises.
    He didn’t blink when he expended/wasted tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars on his new schools at Frank Sound….

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    • Anonymous says:

      I did of course mean CI$170 MILLION – Senior Moment….

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the unspecified millions (or hundreds of millions) for cruise berthing that will be done, come hell or high water

    • Anonymous says:

      They need to run the Court like a business. Stop putting off cases for months, years and then eventually dimissing or tlhere is no case to answer to. Call cases and try them, putting off cases cost MONEY, that taxpayers have to pay for. Utilize the courts day if night.

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    • Anonymous says:

      12.35 pm Don’t forget the money wasted on the proposed school in West Bay. What a waste.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Court is now held 10am to 3PM. how about changing the hours to 7am to 11PM. The buildings are completely empty in the evening and early mornings.

    Think about the many people who could get their court business done and out of the way before or after work. Think about how many employers would be happy about not having to lose their staff for the entire day. Think about the ease of finding parking before 7am or after 5pm.

    Sometimes you just have to think outside of the box Mr. Chief Justice…

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m guessing you’ve never tried to prepare for court in the mornings, evenings and overnight whilst appearing in it during the day? For counsel and Judges we need a little time to prepare, and, if you can imagine such a thing, eat and sleep.

      BTW Grand Court sits 9 or 9.30 to 4 or 4.30 and, as necessary, at all hours.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmmm…Just how do lawyers and judges do it in the United States??? Guess they go unprepared every day..Ridiculous!

        Come on, stop being so lazy and finding excuses. At $500 plus per day for your services, get someone to help you prepare and stop gouging people.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t know. I guess you’d have to go to every town in that country to find out, but you can bet that the way they do it is what works for them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Tell you what – since its so easy why don’t you do it, be lazy and make a fortune too?

          (Just so you know – before you can start on the 7 years of the undergraduate degree, graduate degree, post-graduate qualifications and in-employment training, you’ll need to learn how to put a basic sentence together, as you have to pass English GCSE first.)

          PS $500 a day? LOL.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I think you mean $500 per hour..

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        • Really? says:

          You me per house that what lawyers make and why they are trying to keep Caymanians out with new Legal Practioners Bill.

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      • Anonymous says:

        not to mention the court staff do their admin work before and after those court hours

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        • Anonymous says:

          Hire more staff..You would have to do this anyway with expanded facilities..Stop making stupid excuses..

          Plenty of unemployed people looking for work..

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          • Anonymous says:

            Just because someone is looking for work, does not mean they will get work

            How many of the unemployed have workplace issues and bad histories with employers?
            How many have criminal records?
            How many are qualified and actively seeking to improve themselves as potential employee?
            How many have qualifications to the standards of the International business world?

            I’m sure that would narrow down the numbers quite a bit
            also as someone who has studied and is continuing to study economics 6.2% unemployment is not that high, while the number could be lower it would still level out around 3-4%

            The rumor and talking point that Cayman has some huge unemployment problem is just that, a rumor used by the political wannabes KT and Sandra, potential MLAs and Talk show hosts to get the populous riled up

            I don’t even support the government clowns on policy or proposals but the unemployment “issue” is a nonstarter, short of writing a law that says “All adults must be employed at all times” or switching to a socialist system and having the government designate jobs there will ALWAYS be unemployment to some degree

            Don’t let the ill informed or the politically hopeful trick you

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      • Really? says:

        Sounds like you need more training. If you are a professional prepare the evenimg or night before. There are more pressing social issues than building a 170 million CI dollars court house to replace the current under utilitize building. Please read the Premier speach he delivered at the Chamber. Looks like you need a plan on how to prepare.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Great idea.
      1) Double the # judges & staff (and offices) needed, so you might as well just build the new building to fit them properly.
      2) Double the hours my staff are out on jury duty. Or doublet eh staff if you don’t plan to have the same jury there from 7am to 11pm.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why double the judges and staff?..How about shifts and a little bit of creativity.

        Must be some very expensive judges if they cost $170M..That might be our problem right there..

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Surely the hundreds of lawyers “practicing” Cayman law overseas could be taxed and hose monies used to pay for the new courthouse? Oh wait, tried that- Alden prefers they continue to operate without any fees or regulatory oversight whatsoever.

    Probably a good thing as any money that came in would just get wasted on thinking about a new dock instead.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hmmm. Under your scheme will the GTH doctors and nurses be paying for the hospital? Are the Cayman Airways pilots going to be paying for the runway and planes? Will the MLAs be paying for the upkeep of the legislative assembly building? Just asking.

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      • Anonymous says:

        No, but those professions pay their way already.
        There are hundreds of lawyers overseas practicing our law and paying no fees whatsoever.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dumb and dumber….

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    • Anonymous says:

      How about we tax the criminals and people who make really, really stupid comments on CNS? Or tax people who could potentially one day need court services (all of us, potentially, civil or criminal)?

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  6. Mokes-for-all says:

    Here’s an idea: Build the new police station in it’s new proposed location; then demolish the existing police station, the old vehicle inspection buildings and the glass house and voila – you have the site for the new court facility – on land which government already owns. The hard work has already been done to come up with proposals for the new court building. All it needs now is a value-engineering charette to tailor the costs to a more palatable budget. You have the professionals on island capable of doing this – use them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are too many police comfortably ensconced at the station – we need them in vehicles out in the community. That’s how we reduce crime. Even if it were to be just 10% of the 406 on payroll, it would be a remarkable improvement over the current blasé effort.

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    • Anonymous says:

      In the town I come from we had a similar situation a few decades ago. They knocked everything down and built the police station with cells, and courthouse in the same area. It was a noticeable improvement on the previous split arrangements and they discovered it was also handy not only for holding prisoners in cells until their case was called next door, but also the police saved substantial resources in not having to travel every time they were required in court. I think your idea is an excellent one, but both the new police station and court house should be built there (not sure where they propose to build the new police station).

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      • Anonymous says:

        Far too sensible for Absurdistan.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This is what they’ve done in Bermuda – combined the police station and Magistrates Court. It’s a good idea. Still can’t do it without building something first. And it means John Q. Ebanks with his traffic ticket has a better day in court than a billionaire who’s paid millions over the years to structure his affairs here and his first time physically on the island is…the current Court House, shabby, cramped, and wholly inadequate, and he’s paid for it to be upgraded to the minimum standard required to allow his case to proceed. Not very impressive. A partial solution to a part of the problem, I grant, but no silver bullet in any way whatsoever.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I thought the Chief rejected the offer for a free new civil Court at the outset of Camana Bay which would have freed up a of space, just because he wanted the courts to be in George Town, rather than 5 minutes drive from its present location.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Courts have to be accessible to the common man and near to the vast majority of lawyers offices. That means George Town. In what city in any territory or country has one of the three branches of government been located in a master-planned, mixed-use community and provided for free by the developer, away from all the other important government buildings and practically all the people who need to interact with that branch of government? What impact would it have on judicial independence for the long-needed facilities to be built by an oligarch whose companies are in court on the regular? DART made that offer for one reason and one reason only: to cause a mad rush of law firms to fill their buildings and kill off GT for good. It was a Trojan horse that was rightly rejected. The Government of the Cayman Islands has the responsibility under the Constitution to fund the judiciary and uphold the rule of law. Sugar Daddy DART has no place here.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Dart is in everything else, for goodness sake keep him out of the courts unless he has to go there one day to defend himself or his companies!! Camana bay is not Monaco or Switzerland.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Camana Bay is 5 minutes drive from Heroes’ Square. It has better parking. It is as or more accessible to the common man as central George Town. There are as many lawyers workign clser to Camana Bay than the current court building. AND IT WOULD HAVE SAVED $170 MILLION.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have a simple solution…Night Court and Court and Weekend Court

    Think of all the possibilities to bring GT alive at night again. All the people that come down at night including staff, lawyers, and those attending court would need places to eat, shops could stay open later and there would be no issue with parking..

    What say ye, Mr, Chief Justice…will you come out of your lofty chambers for night court?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do you want to work all day and then work all night too? It’s quite tiring after the first couple of days.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Some people work two and three jobs a day but you are quite happy to complain about working one or two shifts..

        You are complaining about having more space..Don’t you realize if there is more space then there will be more cases heard during the day? Will you be complaining that you can’t do two things in one day? Hire some people to help you..

        Do a pilot programme and add four judges for night court. The law firms have countless lawyers and more coming everyday that can work shifts just like everybody else in the real world…

        Works on the dock everyday! Cargo at night, cruise ships during the day..

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      • Anonymous says:

        I work two jobs just to make ends meet …You have always had a silver spoon in your mouth..I have to wash them every night so they are clean for you for breakfast the next morning while I am on my way to my next job..

        Yeah sure working two shifts is hard but many people do it and don’t complain..It’s just part of life in Cayman..

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        • Anonymous says:

          While I hear where you are coming from, not all lawyers were born with silver spoons in their mouths. Some (like me) came from very poor families in war-torn industrial communities, but committed to having several jobs to save the money to go to night school and slowly qualify. Then many more years on the job starting in the admin team (despite being qualified lawyer) and working their way up through determination to self-improve, long hours at work, merit and finally recognition. Over the years if you are any good your clients want you doing their work no matter who you work for, they will follow you, and that’s how to get into the big bucks. Law firms like staff that bring clients with them, they are worth a hell of a lot of money in fees, particularly in financial services. It’s easy to sit there slagging off others, but its not always the picture you paint. Your generalisations just insult those who started like you and worked their butts off to try and have a better life for their children, and their children’s children.

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          • Anonymous says:

            So what you are telling me is that you have paid your dues and shouldn’t have to work at night?..What if all the people that work at night said that? Now that you have the silver spoon in your mouth pay some of those “struggling Caymanian young lawyers” who would be more than willing to work at night to pay their dues to get to do day time work. Even though they didn’t come from a war torn country like you, they are facing the same struggles making it in this world..Too bad people like you with the silver spoon forget that…Remember it was Cayman and these same Caymanians that gave you a place to thrive and make a fortune away from your war torn land..Be grateful and offer solutions not excuses or laziness..

          • Anonymous says:

            9.55, you from Pittsburgh too?

      • Anonymous says:

        Um, is it so difficult to set up a day shift and a night shift? Unless you are a sole practitioner, it should be possible

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, it will certainly bring GT alive at night to have people park, go into the court building, come out, get into their cars and leave. Shops will not stay open later, they cater to tourists who are gone by 4 pm. Nor will places to eat that aren’t already open at night – Casanova, Brasserie, etc. – you know, places where people who work late in town already grab dinner, often before going back to the office. There would be all the parking in the world because it would still be the ghost town it is. Next thing you know, in among all those empty parking spaces, a judge walking into the building for your Night Court gets knifed, shot or abducted. Your last paragraph/sentence gives you away: this is pure inverted snobbery. Where do you think this money should be going: to you? Do you not realise if it is invested in the administration of justice, it IS going to you because you may one day be very much counting on it to recover your money, punish someone who has committed a crime against you, or uphold your rights before the law? All these back of a napkin solutions from armchair commentators without a clue how this is all supposed to work. I’m rarely more embarrassed to be Caymanian than I am when I see how people react to the idea of the institution/branch of government that takes its responsibility more seriously than all others getting nothing to help it do so. There are no wotes, no kickbacks, and no oversized chairs or offices for legislators and ministers in courthouses – those are the ONLY reasons this wasn’t done a long time ago.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeh 9.38, more people to mug as they come out of court…excellent idea.

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      • Anonymous says:

        you are an idiot..really? Probably would be one of the safest places as their would be officers everywhere just like it is during the day..

  9. Anonymous says:

    Updated list of who to blame for Cayman’s problems:

    -The EU (aka the socialists in Belgium, and collectively the second biggest economy in the world but let’s forget that because Cayman is the little engine that could, while we piss them off Bermuda will be getting on their good side and taking all of our business)
    -Dart
    -The British Government
    -The Lodge ( so secretive that everyone and their mother seems to know exactly what they are up too)
    -Expats
    -MLAs from 20 years ago and those no longer in office (certainly not modern MLAs for they are above reproach)

    Who is not responsible and thus free of blame:
    -The Caymanian people (aka the electorate)
    -Our supposed representatives ( you know the ones who get elected and then proceed to disregard us for 3 years)
    -The Chief Officers (who are the ones responsible for the day to day at the ministries and executing the policy of their respective ministers)

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  10. Anonymous says:

    New court building should be done before any cruise berthing facilities

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  11. Lo-Cal says:

    He must have meant $150M after everyone gets their cut. Why not move the whole thing out of town, purchase land for a reasonable price and build something decent. This will ease a lot of morning commute and parking issues. If Dart built CIS School for $50M WTF are they doing?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Golden bidets for all!

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The idiots on the morning talk show were having a field day, maneuvering to be our next worthless politicians, spouting populist BS on vague details. Sheesh.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are persons not allowed to discuss issues without ulterior motives? I’m sure some of those people would love to be an MLA, but at the same time it is the voting populous’ job to discern between the power hungry and the true representative who cares about the issues and policies

      • Anonymous says:

        And their track record of doing that could not be any worse. And, if you think the politicians don’t know that they have to keep their game dirty to keep the ‘true representatives who care about the issues and policies’ out of their trough, you’re naive. They’ve been doing it for decades. Look what they did to Winston, a man of integrity, education and principle, for starters.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that show has just become so corny and one-sided. “I ain’t going to lie to you,” I get so tired of Woody’s childishness. He makes Elio look like the only adult in the room..ugh! Come on Randy, time for a change, please!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Idiots ? You are being kind. Poor Woody he is upset with everyone and can’t decide whether he is a host or guest. The venom at 7am is so poisonous I have stopped listening.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Totally agree..He has been jaded so many times that it seems like constant political vendettas’ all day long..”I ain’t gonna lie to you”

        Hi rant about New Years eve went on every day for almost a month..got so sick and tired of hearing that $hit..

  14. Anonymous says:

    How about a connected annex with 5 courtrooms and a couple of jury rooms, waiting area, conference room, etc for $2 million per. Equals $10 million, not $150 million. Time to be frugal with other peoples’ money, Judge. Especially with the fears that Brexit may reduce your caseload.

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    • Anonymous says:

      For those in the know, there are no such fears…

    • Yeap says:

      The court rooms are under utilized. Court starts 10am. lunch at 1pm til 2:30pm, then concludes at 3:30-4pm. 4 Hours a day is not very efficient. Why cann’t court start a 8am? Surely they can get up in time like the rest of us. Why cann’t the court finish at 6pm? Why no night court 7pm til 9pm. Why is court not held on saturdays? The DDP also needs to look at minor offences. I.e why is a minor fender binder taking up court time. Majority of summary court cases are traffic offences. Maybe careless driving should be a ticketable offence. In addition lawyers put of cases to increase their fee since they get paid by each court appearance regardless if it is only five minutes. $ 250ci for five minutes no wonder we have now over a 1000 people with law degrees and close to 800 lawyers and many more in house counsels.

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      • Anonymous says:

        For court to start at 8 am, staff and judges would need to arrive at 6.30, and the judges after staying up late reading the parties’ documents (something they already do because they are conducting the hearings themselves all day!). How do their kids get to school – drop them off when the sun hasn’t come up yet? The various people involved in a court hearing don’t just walk into the building and into the court room in no particular order and say ‘right! Let’s get started.’ Bundles need to be in the right place, A/V equipment tested so that transcripts can be prepared or overseas lawyers can give submissions, defendants have to be brought from Northward (the video link to the courthouse is helping with this), lawyers from opposing sides need time before the hearing but AFTER the building has opened to discuss possible settlement or housekeeping matters, I could go on endlessly. Plus, traffic would ensure that most of those early sessions just get adjourned because the parties can’t get there in time. It just wouldn’t work; would be a colossal waste of everyone’s time, sleep, and sanity. Not to mention, extend the hours, and you increase the payroll. You need more judges, more staff, more security, more overtime, higher utility bills. The same obstacles apply to court being conducted after normal business hours, or Saturdays. So what if traffic offences make up a large portion of Summary Court cases? EVERY criminal case starts with a Summary Court hearing. If the Summary Court can’t hear the case because it is outside its jurisdiction, or the defendants so chooses (if he has a choice), then the case goes up to Grand Court. And of those 800 lawyers, fewer than 40 are prepared to do legal aid and criminal work, criminal being the absolute least popular and lucrative. Those 20 or so who are up all night and in court all day, day after day, are unsung heroes; the system wouldn’t work without their dedication and love of what they do either. Another uninformed comment. I might be here all day explaining how a justice system works.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So do you think only judges or court staff have children. I never see my children any morning because they are fast asleep when I am going to work because I am on the early shift. It isn’t ideal but my husband takes them to school and I pick them up.

          You folks in the courthouse have been living of the gravy train that government (we the people) provide to you. Try walking a day in a real person’s shoes. Think about the people at the Fire Station, the hospitals, the Police Department or even the ordinary taxi driver or hotel worker..What about their children?..oh yeah, yours deserve better..

          So sick and tired of hearing you need a bigger building and all the excuses that come along with it.

          Nobody is asking you to work two shifts straight but in order to save us this ridiculous amount of money, get off your butt and go to work early. Take the later shift if you are not a morning person or worried about not being able to take your kids to school..

    • Anonymous says:

      You are completely missing the point that it is not just about court rooms or waiting rooms. Space is just the most pressing and most dire issue with the most obvious consequences. What part of the facilities are shabby, cramped, and wholly inadequate and accepted as being in need of wholesale replacement for 27 years did you miss?

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      • Anonymous says:

        If you want more space, it would help to make a reasonable proposal. $150million is not a reasonable proposal. There is no earthly reason to tear down the existing space. The judges can dress like lords but there is no reason to build them a palace.

    • Anonymous says:

      How about the waste of a port project but guess when someone donates a lot then things happen faster don’t they.

  15. Caymanian facts says:

    Need some extra Cash Sir. Have your Judges and Magistrates give the maximum fines.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    So many ignorant comments. By the time the general public appreciates the need for a new Court House, it will already be too late. Word will have been spreading throughout the financial and legal worlds for years that our justice system is slow, crummy and underfunded. The fees will stop coming in, the payments from the NAU will stop going out. Right now our justice system functions in spite of this neglect, but every year it creaks a little more. Those creaks have become cracks. Acting Magistrates are almost always cranky and they take it out on everyone in the room. That frustration will move up the judicial ranks until we can’t get good judges here anymore. Without them, we can’t sell the judiciary to international business. Without international business, we can’t pay civil service salaries, or health care, or pensions, or debts, or undertake capital expenditure. Without those things, we have angry voters and then, Premier Trumpbanks will be elected. Do you want that? This is one area where the Government and LA, both usually stocked with lawyers who know the truth of what the CJ says, simply need to ignore the ignorance, budget the money, and get the thing built. They upgraded the LA 15 years ago, built the new administration building and moved from the Glass House 6 years ago, and both of those buildings were built at the same time as the current Court House. The thousands of judges, court staff, legal practitioners, litigants and members of the public who are in and out of court facilities in Cayman every year have needed more to work with for YEARS and they’re going to start (continue really) taking it out on each other, and us, very soon. That way lies the path of our less-fortunate neighbours in the region. THAT’S what we can’t afford. We CAN afford a new Court House and we must have one. Just imagine next year’s speech if this inaction continues. Alden was already biting his lip as the CJ spoke this year. The other two branches of government cannot continue to flip off the third with no consequences for our society.

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    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      Ignorant commentary is the order of the day if you read this page often enough. Nothing new, but, crime crisis plus judicial crisis equals what?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The financial world doesn’t care what your courthouse looks like. Slow justice could be a problem but that’s on the lawyers and judges and antiquated procedure, not the building.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Legalize weed and you wont need a bigger courthouse! It’s really that simple!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Your weed consumption may have impugned your ability to fully understand what in fact is going on in most of our court rooms. Most lawyers and judges are dealing with things other than crime.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Legalize marijuana and allow people to grow a few plants at home if you want to empty the court house.

    The above is just one benefit of legalization please see below for additional benefits:

    – Stop giving criminal records to kids and young adults for no reason and ruining their entire life prospects
    – Reduce drug boats bringing contraband and weapons to our shores
    – Our young men wont go missing at sea so often risking their lives to bring it to the island
    – Improved tourism product (they ALL want to smoke it on holiday whether you believe so or not).

    … and the list goes on and on.

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    • Anonymous says:

      – sell it to tourists at the airport and at the cruise ship terminal on arrival so government can earn tax revenue on sales to visitors!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with anon 3:36 however we should not legalize weed, instead we should decriminalize it.

      • Anonymous says:

        decriminalizing without regulating and demanding institutions be the retailers would leave the only suppliers that exist

        the criminals who currently grow it in remote areas of the islands and those who smuggle it in

        of course something tells me you already know that

        I fervently support legalization with the caveat being that int includes regulation and taxation along with strict laws enforcing the restricting sale of marijuana to children and the unregulated resale 0(something extreme like a minimum 5 year sentence)

    • Anonymous says:

      – reduce the number of illegals coming to our shores from Jamaica.

    • Anonymous says:

      People get up on CNS (Including myself) and advocate for the legalization of Marijuana all day and all night, but then when the elections roll around they disappear, if you call out for the legalization it will encourage candidates to change their positions
      but if you call for change and then don’t vote for those candidates there is no point

  19. Anonymous says:

    If PWD Architectural section is designing it, i can very much believe the estimated costs at 146M – 178M, and thats prob only 2bed/2bath LOLLLLLL

    Show us the conceptual drawings so we can see where the wasteful expenditure is

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not PWD, PWC. Its been designed by accountant consultants. Just as now codified in the EY report. (Spend public money in the private sector for no good return.)

  20. Unison says:

    I sure do hope these urgent needs brought up by the CJ are resolved. Seeing the increase in crime, we shouldn’t be playing around with our Justice system ?

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  21. Anonymous says:

    How does it compare with Jamaica, Justice Smellie?

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    • Anonymous says:

      We are not Jamaica we are a leading financial center and he is right this is negligence, how many Caymanians now have their lives held in limbo awaiting trial ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Completely irrelevant. This is not Jamaica. But it will be soon enough if word gets around that justice for victims and the resolution of international financial disputes both take years to provide in Cayman.

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      • Anonymous says:

        😉 I think that might have been the person’s (sarcastic) point?

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        • Anonymous says:

          No, that was a xenophobic reference to the fact that the Chief Justice is from Jamaica and a thinly veiled suggestion he should go back there if he doesn’t like it here. Never mind that he’s married to a Caymanian and has Caymanian children and has been here for over 30 years.

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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      How does our financial services system, which pays for 2/3rd of our economy, compare to Jamaica? How does your standard of living compare to Jamaica? Perhaps you should set the bar at the standard of society you obviously want to live in and the modern financial services community expects of the worlds leading hedge fund jurisdiction, rather than taking completely irrelevant cheap shots at the Chief Justice’s home jurisdiction. Guess you wouldn’t be asking Justice Segal how the court system compared to the UK, would you?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Dont really care about you guys or how long an international case takes. Is that really a selling point for your deals? Are we slower than EU?

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, it is a selling point for our deals. The EU does not compete with anywhere else for business. It just is. WE have to compete to survive. If we offer offshore companies to international business, with incorporation documents that say all disputes to be resolved in the Cayman Islands Courts, and if we want the fees that come from both those companies and from the resolution of those disputes before the Cayman Islands Courts, then the Cayman Islands Courts have to be up to scratch. Multinational corporations, ultra high net worth individuals, national federal employee pension funds, hedge fund and private equity money, booming Asian economies and their state and privately owned institutions, these and many more have the entire world at their fingertips. They can afford to investigate everything about their proposed plans and make decisions ruthlessly. Their eagerness or willingness to use offshore companies and trusts and so on set up in Cayman is ultimately backstopped by our assurance, which we must make good on every single time, that if something goes wrong, our courts are up to the job. Yes, yes, yes, it matters that much, and it matters that much, whether or not you care. Just like science, it’s true whether you believe in it or not. So it goes with international financial business.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Dart will offer to build a court house on his land and in doing so then have influence of the judiciary also.. Just wait and see.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Just listen to you…get over yourself already…why have a nasty and cheap shot at Dart when its CIG who is failing?…the people you elected are failing…go check if that one neuron left in your brain is working, ‘cos it don’t look like it from what I read.

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    • From the mouths of babes says:

      Ha! My child noted this week that the CBSPD on the guards vests at Camana bay stands for “Camana bay special police department” and then said Camana bay has its own police. From the mouths of babes. Maybe not too far from the truth…

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  23. Anonymous says:

    If the Chief justice is not being listened too, he should lift all the LA’s immunities and hold them in contempt of court. That might get their attention. There may also be a strong case for requesting a judicial review of Lodge activity affecting the courts and their activities.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Pardon me but with all due respect the Chief Justice, not withstanding how powerful he is cannot dictate where, how huge, how expensive, how elaborate the Court House sho

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    • Anonymous says:

      With all due respect to the Chief Justice, he really cannot dictate how huge, how elaborate, or where the new court house should be. Do not let your jaded opinion ( perhaps rightly so) of the Premier cloud your thinking. To build a court house that will cost the people of the Cayman Islands over one hundred and eighty million dollars is ludicrous. Instead of coming to a compromise on the location he wants the government to spend four million dollars on another parcel of land according to the Premier’s statement. We all were ready to crucify the Premier for spending way too much money on the Clifton Hunter High school, and now some of you are encouraging him to do the same with the court house. I am no fan of the Premier but I agree with him this time. A reasonable priced court house should have been built long ago but CI $ 177 million plus CI$ 4 million for land is way too much. If the hundreds of the attorneys who rake in billions of dollars from fees want to donate a court house to the people of the Cayman Islands then sure, go ahead and build it otherwise the government should focus on a safe, secured modest building. Don’t understand why we should try to compete with countries with endless amount of money and millions or even billions of people.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Would rather it be spent on the Courthouse than the cruise piers in GT, Boardwalk at SS and now some idiotic proposal for dock/port in Breakers. It’s clear to all of us where our money should be spent but they just bury their heads in the sand and follow their own whims and desires in the hope of not only keeping that (Dis)”honorable” title but local fame too – they all have egos beyond anything that can be considered normal and they all get paid way more than can be considered reasonable…. to do nothing but bring Cayman to rack and ruin, not to mention, shame.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The court house is not ludicrous. The cost being bandied about is ludicrous and blatantly corrupt.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many many judges and lawyers worldwide are lodge brothers also. Be careful what you ask for.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If the Judge thinks $150 million is about right, we need a new judge.

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  24. Diogenes says:

    Someone put some coal in Alden’s fists, diamonds are forever

    Diogenes

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Improved case management would help. Tolerating unprepared lawyers and their failures to meet regular deadlines seems to be a time-wasting problem.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    The Chief Justice is absolutely right. Because Justice delayed is Justice denied, the courts should not be blamed if rapists, murderers, and others are simply set free back on to the streets due to technicalities arising from delays in a determination of their cases. Alden, and his party, will bear that responsibility.

    Hew will also bear the responsibility when the funds stop being registered here because in the event of a dispute, the courts cannot resolve issues in a timely manner.

    The PPM’s motto should really be “self before country”

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed but in all fairness, can we change that to all Cayman politicians’ motto should be self before country – they’re only in it for the overly-generous salary and the perks.

  27. Politricks 101 says:

    If a new court house is projected to cost $146-177 million which seems astronomical can the public imagine what the total TURN KEY final costs of the proposed cruise berthing facility will be to the Cayman Islands Government and tax paying public?

    It’s important to remember the Outline Business Case originally estimated the costs of the project to be around $150million but with the new design and pilings or dredging into the deeper waters one can anticipate that the cruise berthing project will costs far more that $350 million.

    However, the PPM led UNITY government seem prepared to move ahead with that cruise berthing project no matter the costs whether it is financial, environmental or social to the people of the Cayman Islands. If funding is a concern which seems responsible enough surely the proposed dock project to primarily benefit a handful of GT retail merchants should not be a priority either at that cost of over $350million. So what is the rush for the Premier, Deputy Premier, Cabinet and the UNITY government?

    Also, why does every project undertaken by government cost over $100million and eventually costs the country double or triple the projected costs? For example look at the Clifton Hunter High School which cost $110m for a public high school. What are the people in government and running the country thinking? Where does all this money come from the pay for the opulence?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Never forget the expensive mess called CHHS is all about the legacy & ego of Premier Alden McLaughlin.

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  28. WTF says:

    If the cost is really over CI$150,000,000.00 for a new court house the Chief Justice is delusional and should have his head checked out ASAP. The handling of Tempura demonstrated serious shortcomings while the Tara Rivers decision was piss poor so there is a now a consistent theme of poor judgement on the record.
    Also whomever came up with the design and specs for the new court house at that price and thinks this is appropriate needs to be fired by CIG or sent to Dr. Lockhart for observation. WTF

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s the point, isn’t it? Why would it cost that much? Someone is going to make a lot of money out of that.

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    • Who’s ya daddy? says:

      Time for a deep review of the beneficial owners of the proposed construction company and its affiliates. All conflicts of interest by any MLA that has any connection to the appointed construction company should be disclosed and removed from tender process. Time for Cayman to behave like the fifth largest financial center it claims to be and not a family convenience store.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was costed out by PWC. Now you know who to blame.

  29. Anonymous says:

    It would seem the DPP clog the courts with weak cases that should never have proceeded to trial. Downstream there is the overloaded, not fit for habitation prison issue, and upstream a chronically absent and disengaged police force. Pick your poison mister court man. A lot of the criminal cases would be solved by regular police deployment in communities, upsetting current risk expectations, and discouraging opportunistic crime, and the resulting logjam of caseloads.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We have major international litigation cases here because of the nature of our financial services and our financial laws and any inability to conduct these trials is a threat to our financial services. The Chief Justice is right. This is a major major issue and needs to be fixed. I agree though that the price seems a bit high

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    • Anonymous says:

      The court is also clogged up with minor ticketable offenses and domestic disputes. None of which should be taking up court time and resources. More effective use of mediation would also drastically reduce the court’s burden.

    • Anonymous says:

      New court rooms are not the problem.

      The efficiency of the judicial system is the primary problem for crowded court rooms.

      Procedures are ancient, a few e.g.:

      * In 2018 judges must stop hand writing evidence at snail pace, speech to text technology is far advanced, then court room person verifies accuracy.

      * Too many mention dates before trial.

      * DPP / ŔCIPS must be forced to hand their case evidence to defence without the usual long delays.

      * RCIPS officers not present must be fined – just like civilian witnesses.

      In fairness, it seems like the drug court is having moderate success.

      Legal Aid – another disastrous administration.

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