Privy Council to sit in Cayman as new courts open

| 24/10/2022 | 16 Comments
Cayman News Service
Lord Reed

(CNS): The first of several new much-needed courtrooms unofficially opened last week in time to host the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which will be sitting in Grand Cayman to hear three local cases next month, the first time it has ever sat in any British Overseas Territory. It will deal with a dispute over a winding-up petition from the financial division, a property argument from the civil courts and a human rights case of a local inmate transferred to serve a life term in the UK.

The PCJC is the highest court of appeal for many Commonwealth countries, as well as the BOTs, Crown Dependencies and British military bases, and it normally sits in London regardless of where the case is based. But Sir Anthony Smellie, Cayman’s outgoing chief justice, said it is as “much our Court as it is for the populations of the United Kingdom”.

He said the visit signifies its integral part of the Cayman Islands Justice System and the final opportunity for judicial resolution. “The visit really symbolises the connectivity and links among all our courts right up to the final appellate court for the Cayman Islands — the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,” he said.

Lord Reed of Allemuir, who will lead the delegation of five judges and additional support staff, said that as the final court of appeal for the Cayman Islands, the court hears cases of profound importance to everyone across the islands.

“My colleagues and I strongly believe that the experience of attending a court hearing in person
should not be limited to those able to get to London,” he said. “I am very pleased that people in the Cayman Islands will have the opportunity to see the Court in operation locally and I look forward to meeting members of the legal profession and law students. The JCPC is committed to being one of the most open and accessible courts in the world and, like all our hearings, the cases we hear in the Cayman Islands will be live-streamed for everyone who cannot get to see us in person,” he added.

The public is welcome to attend in person and will get the chance to sit in the brand new court complex. With work on two courtrooms in the former Scotia Bank building finished, the visiting PCJC will sit in the new state-of-the-art Cayman Islands Halls of Justice. The second-floor courtroom has been custom-built to accommodate this Privy Council session and future sittings of the Court of Appeal. Since the appeals court only sits for around nine or ten weeks a year, it will also be used for Summary and Grand Court hearings.

The JCPC was invited to sit in the Cayman Islands by the local judiciary and the government as part of the formal opening ceremonies for the new court building. The trip to Cayman by the justices was welcomed by Premier Wayne Panton, who said the Cayman Islands benefits tremendously from having it as our highest court.

“Across all areas of jurisprudence, including international financial services matters, it underpins confidence in our good governance. We eagerly look forward to welcoming the Privy Council on their first ever visit and sitting in the Cayman Islands,” he said.

Governor Martyn Roper said that the visit would enhance public understanding of the legal system and the Privy Council’s role. “Our highly respected independent judicial system is a cornerstone of the success of the Cayman Islands. The Privy Council visit underlines the confidence we can all have in our judicial system,” he said.

While they are here, the justices will also be involved with education programmes, including an ‘Ask a Justice’ question-and-answer session for law students as well as meetings with members of the Cayman Islands legal profession.

Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA) President Erik Bodden said the visit will allow the local legal fraternity to see the court’s work first-hand, and he urged his colleagues to attend the Privy Council sittings in person.

See details of the three cases the court below:

FamilyMart China Holding Co Ltd (Respondent) v Ting Chuan (Cayman Islands) Holding
Corporation (Appellant) (Cayman Islands) – JCPC 2020/0055

HEB Enterprises Ltd and another (Respondents) v Bernice Richards (as Personal
Representative of the Estate of Anthony Richards, Deceased) (Appellant) (Cayman
Islands) – JCPC 2020/0087

Justin Ramoon (Appellant) v Governor of the Cayman Islands and another (Respondent)
(Cayman Islands) – JCPC 2022/0066

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (16)

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  1. WBW Czar. says:

    This is concerning to me as it shows a greater expansion of the UK’s meddling in local affairs. First a warship showing up after a rainstorm and now this. This doesn’t pass the smell test.

    • Yes, WBW seems an accurate description says:

      WBW Czar can be recognised by the tinfoil hat he wears and the fact he watches nothing but Fox News. I say “he”, because obviously he is a he with this sort of comment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot. Cayman’s final court of appeal has always been the privy council. The only difference is that they are going to come here to hear some appeals instead of hearing them in London. So some additional reverie for the hotels in accommodating the judges and counsel who would otherwise be in London to hear the case.

    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly it is concerning because they have NEVER come to Jamaica, TCI, BVI or any of the other Caribbean countries who still use the court!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does this Privy Council have the power to remove convicted criminals from our government?

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    ah yes… the new court building with even less parking.

  5. anon says:

    Who is paying for this?.

    • Anonymous says:

      And why the Hell employ overseas Architect interiors firm to do this alteration work..?
      Surely there must be sufficient skills on Island to do this work..?
      Good luck building a new court Palace , the fees alone for the last attempt exceeded $2 million.!
      Now that Govt have noticed they own the building for that reason.. surely that will fill the court’s needs.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are … “The JCPC was invited to sit in the Cayman Islands by the local judiciary and the government as part of the formal opening ceremonies for the new court building.”

      “the delegation of five judges and additional support staff”

      Airfare… business class on BA
      Accommodation … Marriot or Kimpton
      Transportation …

      AKA … free vacation in the sun for about 10 people on our dollar !!!

  6. Orrie Merren 🙏🏻🇰🇾 says:

    Looking forward to attending these historic hearings of His Majesty’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

    Given that my uncle and father were the first and third Caymanians, respectively, to qualify as English Barristers, this is especially interesting for me.

    Litigation is, at its very heart, the core of legal practice — it’s the rule of law in action.

  7. Patricia Bryan says:

    Such an exciting and legally historical time for the Cayman Islands. Three interesting cases also to start off with. I would love to be especially sitting in on the human rights case (my area of legal interest and developing expertise). So excited for the Cayman Islands!


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