March 21, 2018

The Editor Speaks: No photocopying of court pleadings


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It was with much surprise to learn after what has been practiced for a very long time the making of photocopies of court pleadings will no longer be allowed.

Why? According to the court, publishing court documents online could constitute a violation of copyright,

But it is a PUBLIC document.

The public can review the court files and take notes, but no method of copying or photographing will in future be permitted.

The public can still access and take notes on court records after paying a $20 inspection fee. Obtaining photocopies – for an additional fee of $20 per document plus $0.50 per page – is allowed for “any legitimate purpose,” including investigative journalism, with prior approval from the clerk of court.

And if the clerk of the court makes the decision in his/her opinion it is not legitimate then no photo copies.

This, of course, has made for some adverse comments from abroad because quite frankly the decision makes no sense to a poor old man like me.

According to an article carried by both The Caribbean Radio and Caribbean News Now it states an un-named (that also makes me suspicious) “financial professional in wondered whether recent high-profile fraud cases originating in the Cayman Islands have directed more negative attention towards the offshore financial centre than the government desires, hence the effort to keep the original court documents, some of which could reveal a “head in the sand” approach by local regulators and law enforcement, off the Internet.”

And David Marchant, publisher of Miami-based financial newsletter OffshoreAlert has sent an email out to his 9,000 subscribers in 100 countries,“When a judge punishes such activity, instead of encouraging it, you know a jurisdiction has serious problems.”

The judge in question is, according to the above mentioned article, Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie.

I hope I get to ask him personally “Why?”

When you make hand written copies of any document mistakes happen because of time.

When something that has been allowed before without any problems that I have ever heard of is suddenly stopped for a reason that makes no immediate sense it is sure to invite some serious and adverse perceptions.

Photocopying of any editorials of mine are encouraged. Sending links of them to everybody on social media is even better. Colin pleads you do.

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