iLocal News Archives

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute condemns Privy Council’s ruling to deny Bermuda and the Cayman Islands marriage e$quality


In a recent news release, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemned the ruling by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to reject both appeals from Bermuda and The Cayman Islands to legalise same-sex marriage for their respective jurisdictions:

“The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) expresses surprise and disappointment at the decisions. It considers them shocking, discriminatory and contrary to local and international human rights law. They must be rectified without delay.”

The IBAHRI also urged the British Government to “act without delay to overcome the effect of the Privy Council’s decisions” so that it complies with the European Convention on Human Rights with IBAHRI Co-Chair and immediate past Secretary-General of the Swedish Bar Association, Anne Ramberg Jur dr hc, commenting:

“The outcome of the Privy Council judgments perpetuate (and in the case of the Bermuda appeal) revives and re-imposes discrimination. This outcome is extremely disturbing and shocking in 2022. The Privy Council took more than a year to reach its conclusions. Under the UK’s residual powers in both Bermuda and Cayman Islands as BOTs, it should exercise those powers to restore marriage equality in Bermuda and to provide for equality in Cayman Islands. Nothing less would ensure that the UK’s remaining legal obligations are used consistently with international human rights law and the UK’s own treaty obligation to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.”

IBAHRI Co Chair and British Lawyer, Mark Stephens CBE, commented:

“The British Government and the Privy Council have put themselves in the invidious position where the Inter American Court of Human Rights will now have to show them the moral and legal way forward so as not to discriminate against LGBTIQ folk. In the meantime, both the British Government and the Privy Council’s blessing of discrimination against LGBTIQ folk is morally reprehensible and will damage countless people. The British Government cannot now escape its own separate responsibility for the situation that the Privy Council has held to apply in Bermuda and Cayman Islands. Because the remedies and correction through the judicial process have been exhausted for the LGBTIQ minorities in Bermuda and Cayman Islands, the UK executive and parliament must move, without delay, to correct the serious injustices that the Privy Council’s decisions have imposed.”

Stephens CBE also made reference to other British Overseas Territories—Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks And Caicos Islands—stating that “… there is currently no local legislation in place to protect LGBTIQ people from fundamental breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

The IBAHRI is calling on the local legislatures in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands to “fulfil their obligations, in accordance with local and international human rights provisions, to repair this ‘blot on the law’ of their countries, left by the failure of the Privy Council to defend and protect the right of LGBTIQ citizens to equality and respect for their human dignity.”



The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world’s bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of EuropeThe Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), established in 1995 under Founding Honorary President Nelson Mandela, is an autonomous and financially independent entity, working to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

On 27 May 2010, the IBAHRI Council adopted its resolution on the abolition of criminal penalties against same-sex, adult, consensual, private sexual conduct. Much of the stigma that remains in Commonwealth countries, including BOT like Bermuda and Cayman Islands, derives historically from criminal codes that imposed punishment for such conduct.


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