Ramsay-Hale to take over as chief justice

| 21/09/2022 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service
Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale

(CNS): Governor Martyn Roper has appointed Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale as the chief justice based on the recommendations of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC), who recently undertook the formal recruitment exercise for the job to take over when Chief Justice Sir Anthony Smellie retires next month. As head of the judiciary, the chief justice is responsible for the efficient administration of justice in the country and this is the first time in Cayman’s history the job is being held by a woman.

Roper said Ramsay-Hale brings extensive legal knowledge and significant leadership experience to the role. She has previously served as chief justice in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the governor said she had impressed the JLSC with her “vision, passion and commitment to strengthening our judicial system and rule of law in line with the Cayman Constitution”.

He said she would “build on the successful legacy of outgoing Chief Justice Sir Anthony Smellie, KCMG, KC, who has provided strong leadership and services to law and justice in the Cayman Islands and the wider Caribbean over the last 30 years as a judge, with nearly 25 years as chief justice”.

Roper said, “I am grateful to Sir Anthony for his long years of dedicated service, which is greatly appreciated by the community… It is a signal of strong confidence in the Judiciary in the Cayman Islands that the JLSC recommended an appointment from the bench in Cayman. A high quality and fully independent judiciary is one of major strengths of our jurisdiction supporting the rule of law and our prosperity.”

Ramsay-Hale served for many years as a magistrate in Summary Court and as an acting Grand Court judge in the Cayman Islands before she left to sit on the bench in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where she became chief justice.

She returned to serve on Cayman’s Grand Court at the beginning of 2020 and has since presided over a number of significant cases. She is currently sitting in the criminal fraud case of former CIFA and CONCACAF executives, Canover Watson and Bruce Blake.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (36)

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  1. Rick says:

    Certainly chosen on merit. No other has served the CI on the Chair in a more impactful way either. When we recall stories of impact, we speak of MRH. Those who know, know. Congratulations to a superhuman being, a great judge and a fine woman. May you serve for many successful years.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I do not know her at all, but this island desperately needs some competent women placed in positions of genuine power, I wish her (and us) all the best.

    • Anon says:

      Being chosen for a job because you are female is in itself an insult.If she earned this position, she earned it on her own merit and not just because she’s a woman, hopefully.Someone’s gender should never be a prerequisite for acquiring a role, especially at this level. put the best person in.

  3. Patricia Bryan says:

    If Caymanians look back historically, Jamaicans have been at the helm in our legal system for decades. The new-Chief Justice designate and the outgoing Chief Justice are not the first Jamaicans at the helm. And they like many aspects of the judicial system in Cayman and universally, have had to and will make decisions which we may not deem fair or just. Being in the legal system for over 30 years I know this all too well. Watching he rover the years, I can assuredly say, from my perspective, she has given many many chances at rehabilitation, and have changed many lives in the process. Knowing her she may make a ‘shake-up’ who knows. But so does every new ‘commander in chief’. No one is perfect, and there will never be a way to please everyone. Congratulations again, Justice Ramsay.

  4. George R Ebanks says:

    I offer hearthy Congratulations to our incoming Chief Justice, Hon. Margaret Ramsey-Hale. I am confident that our new CJ will build on the sound jurisprudence foundation left by retiring CJ Sir Anthony S.

    I offer best wishes to Sir Anthony on his soon retirement after many years of sterling service to the Cayman Islands judiciary and feel confident in our new incoming Hon. Chief Justice Margaret Ramsey- Hale.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A terrible decision. Time will show why.

    • Never Can Satisfy Everyone says:

      There is always ONE (with some type of comment) SMH.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is more than one, the underlying issue is that the bar is incredibly low in Cayman.

        Our outgoing CJ has a less than stellar record when his decisions have gone to judicial review and there are more than a few that have been less than impressed with our new CJ.

        That is unfortunately the way it is. We can pat everyone on the back and hand out medals like candy or Franzies but we really should expect more out of our public servants.

        • Anonymous says:

          I hope she will be less attached to the fancy robes and new buildings and more concerned with things like making sure that the clerks office keeps the public records up to date. The bar is indeed low so improvement can be hoped for. She will be around for a long time so fingers crossed.

  6. Patricia Bryan says:

    Congratulations, Justice Ramsay. I knew this would come one day. You will keep order in all areas.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A wonderful choice. I am proud to see a woman become Chief Justice in the Cayman Islands. And I very glad to see that Judge Ramsay-Hale is the woman to take the role. She is not only an excellent judge, but a good human being. Congratulations!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations and good luck to both.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to Hon. Justice Ramsay-Hale – this bodes well for the Courts of the Cayman Islands!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Very good news indeed. Well deserved. The right person for the job

  11. Anonymous says:


  12. Orrie Merren says:

    Congratulations to Hon. Justice Ramsay-Hale on being appointed to the role as Chief Justice effective next month.

  13. Anonymous says:

    lodge member?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes Cayman gets it right.
    Many congratulations.

  15. Daphne Orrett says:

    An excellent choice !!!
    Sincere Congratulations to Hon. Margaret Ramsay-Hale, on the occasion of her appointment as Chief Justice of The Cayman Islands

  16. Michael Day says:

    As is Chief Justice Smelly, soon to be Chief Justice Hale is above all else a decent human being.

    Thank you Mr Smellie for your years of service during a time that Cayman has evolved so much; and congratulations to you Mrs Hale on your appointment – a deserved appointment. I wish you well.

    Respect to both of you

  17. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Judgie! No better person for this position..She is the best and has always been fair and impartial. A good lady!

  18. Anonymous says:

    So could we suppose the Legal Practitioner’s Act might soon be enforced by the regulator?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah. That and the prosecutions in relation to illicit Cabinet status grants, especially to persons who had not been living in Cayman for very long.

    • Anonymous says:

      Such as enforcing decades of contraventions of section 10(1) of the Legal Practitioners Act?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Excellent choice. She is an exemplary judge and, importantly, knows this jurisdiction inside and out.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Good luck to her. I hope she does everything she can to make the system better.


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