October 31, 2020

OCC: Expanded small claims handbook by Cayman Islands attorney

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Handbook HandoverIn an attempt to increase access to justice for the ordinary person, the Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC) has made an expanded fifth edition of the “Small Claims Handbook” available to prospective litigants free of cost.

Written by attorney Mr. Brett Basdeo, who also authored the fourth edition released in 2010, the publication aims to help individuals take their small claims grievances to court.

Now running to 83 pages, the handbook is a quick reference guide that provides simple, lucid and easy to understand explanations and instructions, drawn from the Summary Court Rules 2004. It also includes the downloadable and printable Summary and Grand Court forms that must be completed and submitted to take legal action of this nature.

“The Handbook is meant to assist the general public in pursuing legal remedy through the Summary Court of the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Basdeo elaborated. “It allows the man on the street to take legal action or defend small claims on his own.”

User feedback is also an integral part of the fifth edition.

Handbook“The Complaints Commission used to get at least three requests a week for the handbook, exclusive of online downloads,” Acting Complaints Commissioner Bridgette Von Gerhardt recalled. “This edition will help to meet that demand, and we thank Maples and Calder and Mr. Basdeo for doing such a thorough and professional job.”

  • The new fifth edition features:
  • Simplified legal terms and definitions;
  • Reorganised linear structure to mirror the various stages of proceeding;
  • Better guidance for both the plaintiff (the one who brings the case) and defendant (the one against whom the case is brought);
  • Expanded guidance on limitation periods and on completing court forms;
  • Updated sample forms and
  • An enlarged section on the appeals process.

“This has been a great experience. Thanks to the collaboration with Handbook users, I was very pleased to hand over the fifth edition to the OCC,” Mr. Basdeo comments. “My sincere thanks to everyone who contributed – especially Daniel Cummings of Maples and Calder for the new design and layout, former Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams and the Hon. Chief Justice for his updated foreword.”

Describing the handbook as an extremely useful tool, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, QC, says in his foreword: “I welcome the launch of the fifth edition of the Handbook, which provides lay persons with viable and satisfactory alternatives to retaining counsel, where they are unable to be represented by an attorney at their own cost or through Legal Aid.”

As was the case with previous editions, the handbook is available on the OCC website www.occ.ky/publications and on the Court’s website: www.judicial.ky/guidance/instituting-small-claims.

Photo Captions: Photos by Bina Mani

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