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Cayman Islands AG remarks at Grand Court opening 2017


1. My Lord Chief Justice, Hon. Judges of the Grand Court, Hon.
Chief Magistrate, and other Hon. Magistrates, President of the
Justices of the Peace Association, Madam Director of Public
Prosecutions, Madam Solicitor General, Presidents of the Bar
Association and the Law Society, other colleagues at the Public
and Private bars, other special and distinguished guests, Ladies and

2. It is with pleasure My Lord Chief Justice that I rise, at your
invitation, to move the motion for the opening of the Grand Court
for the Year 2017, and in doing so will crave your indulgence to
proffer a few remarks.

3. My Lords, I think it would be most apposite to begin by observing
that the last calendar year can only be described as a record
breaking one for the amount of laws enacted. There were over 50
pieces of primary legislation, plus numerous pieces of Regulations
enacted by Cabinet. Indeed, in the final sitting of 2016 some 29
pieces of legislation were passed by the Legislative Assembly
which is more than the amount sometimes passed for an entire
legislative year.

4. Further, while the elected Government and support staff are to be
credited for this extraordinary achievement, it would be remiss of
me not to also publicly recognize the herculean effort of my
Legislative Drafting team. It was not easy, indeed it was very
stressful at times but they all displayed commendable dedication
and professionalism in preparing the Bills.

5. Also My Lords, while it goes without saying that all the laws
enacted were of vital importance, it is equally correct to say that
there were some that deserve special mention. These include the
Disabilities (Solomon Webster) Law 2016, which among other
things, seeks to provide for the first time, locally, a comprehensive
legislative framework that regulates how as a society we should
treat with those among us that suffer from disabilities. This
legislative initiative further enhances our Bill of Rights imperatives
in this area.

6. It is no secret My Lords that there are many persons in our society
who encounter such challenges and are often times not afforded the
same level of opportunities and care as those who are not. In this
regard the Government has also unveiled a comprehensive Policy
to help undergird the workings of the Law.

7. Government was also able to enact a raft of other legislations
aimed among other things, at ensuring that the jurisdiction will be
in compliance with the revised FATF 40 Anti-Money laundering
recommendations when the Mutual Evaluation exercise is
undertaken later this year by the CFATF. A successful review will
understandably be critical in ensuring the continuing excellent
reputation of Cayman’s international financial services industry. I
therefore as chair of the AMLSG wish to thank all stakeholders,
including the Anti-Money Laundering unit, CIMA and the
Ministry of Financial Services, as well as the many volunteers,
Public and Private Sectors, who have been working continuously
on our preparations for the upcoming review.

8. On the subject of the Financial Services Industry My Lord, I note
with some more than passing concern that notwithstanding the
numerous confirmations and validation of the soundness of our
regulatory standards, that there are still some foreign organizations
that continue to perpetuate their jaundiced criticisms about our
regulatory framework. Most of the critics are persons or entities
who are just not familiar with the nature of the industry. But My
Lords, we will continue to highlight the fact that our standards are
consistent with, and in some cases, exceed International thresholds.

9. My Lords, I should also at this juncture make mention of two more
recent legislative initiatives, albeit not by the Legislative Assembly
but which are of great significance. First, is the recent amendment
to the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 which now
clarifies that Judges of the Grand Court will retire at age 70,
instead of the previous bifurcated arrangement which led to
differing interpretations. This amendment therefore serves to
finally remove the ongoing uncertainty about the tenure of Judges.
Here I pause to note that the Government has also increased the
retirement age for persons in the public and private sectors.

10. The other initiative is the extension of the 2003 UK Extradition
Act to the Cayman Islands, as well as some of the other overseas
Territories. The effect of this extension is that the Cayman Islands
as a jurisdiction will now, in general, operate on the same
extradition regime as the UK and will thereby be able to place
greater reliance on some of the relevant case laws from the UK.

11. My Lords, on the matter of tenure of members of the Judiciary, I
should also mention that last year the Judge’s Allowances and
Emolument Law, was amended, and the related Order is in the
process of being amended to provide our hard working Magistrates
with more enhanced terms and conditions of their employment and
thereby further strengthening their independence. The changes
will be effective from 1st January 2016, that is, retroactively.

12. Finally on this area My Lords I wish to publicly recognize the
work of the Grand Court Rules Committee, the Insolvency Rules
Committee, the Financial Services Legislative Council, the Law
Revision Commission and the Law Reform Commission and to
point out that long standing member Mr. Kenneth Farrow QC has
been appointed by Cabinet as the new Chair of the Commission,
having succeeded Mr. Ian Paget-Brown QC, who we wish to thank
immensely for his many years of dedicated service on the
Commission. I also wish to thank former Commissioner Mr. Hew
Moses, and to welcome new members, Mr. Hector Robinson and
Mr. Vaughn Carter as well as returning members Her Honor Mrs.
Eileen Nervik, as well as the DPP and SG.

13. My Lords, I am aware of, and therefore wish to mention the
ongoing initiative to possibly establish a formal Mental Health
Court, perhaps as part of the Summary Court. Indeed I understand
that preparations are currently under way to establish a working
group to look at this, including the need for a legislative
framework that would underpin the court.
Also My Lords, I am happy to announce that the Government has
agreed to move to the tendering stage for the construction of a
secure building on the Bonaventure Boys Home site to house highrisk
youth offenders placed on youth re habilitation orders or
remand. Some 2.1 million dollars has been allocated for this

14. Moving on My Lords, both in the Summary Court and in the
Grand Court in the past year, there have been continued efforts by
the Judiciary and the Bar to improve processes in the criminal
justice system. Increasingly sophisticated crime requires an
increasingly sophisticated criminal justice system. The operation of
the Practice direction in the Summary Court and robust case
management hearings in the Grand Court have sought to identify
the real issues in each case as early as possible leading to less
Court time during trials. It is hoped that this approach will become
the new norm as cases progress through all of the courts this year;

15. Also of note is the fact that 2016 was the first full year of the new
sentencing guidelines issued in respect of a number of serious
offences following the work of the Criminal Justice Review
Committee under the Chairmanship of the Justice Quin. These
have proven to be of real benefit to the criminal justice system.
We must also publicly recognise Justice Quin not just for his
leadership on the ongoing reviews, but also for his role in the
Criminal Division, in leading on ensuring the speedy disposal of
criminal matters, with priority being given to custody cases. Of
course, he is ably assisted in this by others, including a number of
visiting Judges.

16. Of practical significance last year in the Grand Court was the
introduction of the Electronic Diary in the Criminal Division. This
assists attorneys to identify available trial dates ahead of time, thus
increasing the efficiency of the Mentions procedure at Court.
Allow me here to express our gratitude to Ms. Suzanne Livingston
and the Listing Officer, Ms. Yasmin Ebanks for their hard work, to
facilitate its implementation.

17. Looking ahead My Lords at some upcoming legislative initiatives
for this year, we will be considering reforms to the Matrimonial
Causes Law with a view, to among other changes, creating a single
ground for Divorce, that of the irretrievable breakdown of the
marriage, and thereby abolishing the fault-based grounds.

18. Government will also be looking at enacting an Ombudsman Law,
and a Public Authorities Law, among others. The Government will
also be moving to finally enact the long outstanding Legal
Practitioners Law. We are all familiar with the history of this
initiative but we are confident that an acceptable compromise will
be achieved.

19. My Lords, one of the more significant upcoming events for 2017
will be the General Elections, which for the very first time will be
conducted on a one person one vote, single member electoral
districts regime. As your Lordships will recall, the way was
previously paved for this by the relevant amendment to S.89 of the
Constitution, as well as by an amendment to the Elections Law.
This is a new constitutional construct and will understandably
encounter teething pains, but I am aware that the necessary training
is under way to get elections officials up to speed with the new

20. My Lords on the issue of Law and Order, I wish to publicly
welcome our new Commissioner of Police, and wish for him a
successful and enjoyable tenure. I wish to also thank Deputy
Commissioner Ennis for his able stewardship during the
interregnum between the departure of former Commissioner
Baines and the arrival of the new Commissioner. Thanks also to
former Commissioner Baines and Deputy Commissioner
Brougham for their stewardship during some very challenging
periods in these Islands.

21. Congratulations are also in order for Deputy Commissioner Kurt
Walton on his well-deserved elevation. We also wish to publicly
welcome Superintendents Graham and Lansdown as we thank the
entire leadership, and rank and file of the RCIPS for their
continuing hard work in maintaining law and order.

22. My Lords on the personnel front there have been some notable
personnel changes during last year both within the Portfolio of
Legal Affairs and the office of the DPP. These include the
appointment of Mr. Robert Berry as our new Director of the FRA.
Also My Lords, we note the transitioning of Mrs. Suzanne
Bothwell from AG’s Chambers to the post of Court Administrator.
Although it was a huge blow to us, it was an excellent replacement
for Mr. McCormac, who did an outstanding job. We wish for Mrs.
Bothwell as well as the entire staff at the Judicial Department a
productive and enjoyable 2017.

23. Might I also My Lords mention the departures from the DPP’s
Office of both Ms. Tanya Lobban-Jackson and Ms. Tricia
Hutchinson, formerly both Senior Crown Counsel. These
vacancies created have since been filled by Mrs. Nicole Petit, and
Ms. Candia James. Ms. Lobban-Jackson and Ms. Hutchinson have
both assumed duties as Magistrates in Turks & Caicos and Jamaica
respectively. I also wish to mention the promotion of Ms. Reshma
Sharma to the post of Deputy Solicitor General.

24. Let me also note publicly My Lords that the Judiciary under the
visionary leadership of the Hon. Chief Justice continues to work
very long hours in disposing of the very large number of matters
coming before the courts on a daily basis. These include weighty
multi-billion dollars commercial matters, family law matters,
constitutional and other public law matters as well as criminal
cases. We wish to also thank our Magistrates and JPs for their
continuing dedication to duty, and their hard work.

25. I wish to also recognize and thank Madam DPP and her dedicated
team in dealing with the numerous criminal and related cases ably
investigated by the equally hardworking members of the RCIP.

26. Thanks also to the Solicitor General and our team of lawyers as we
all continue to play our part in the administration of Justice. To
our colleagues at the private bar, thanks also for their hard work
and professionalism as they too continue to play a vital role in the
justice system, including those assisting our Truman Bodden Law
School and Director Mitchell Davies in the training of our lawyers.
Indeed the Summer 2016 LIB exam results were the best in the
history of the Law School both in terms of the number of First
Class and upper Second Class degrees awarded, and the fact that
no student received less than a lower second class honours degree.
Thanks to the Director and his Lecturers/Tutors.

27. We thank also the Executive and Elected branches of Government
which continue to provide the required resources for the justice
system to function effectively. This includes during the past year a
revised legal aid regime, to facilitate the maintenance of law and
order and the administration of justice. We are a jurisdiction that
prides ourselves on the rule of law, and therefore it requires the
combined effort of all three branches of government as well as
others to ensure success. We also wish to thank the JLSC and the
other Constitutional Commissions for their role as stakeholders in
the rule of law. We thank our media for continuing to keep the
society informed about what is happening within our justice
system, and more generally.

28. I wish for all a happy, prosperous and productive new year.
I now formally move the motion for the opening of the Grand
Court for 2017.

May it so please you My Lords.

Hon. Samuel Bulgin QC, JP
Attorney General
January 11, 2017


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