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Opening of Grand Court addresses: CBA & CILS

Dale CrowleyCBA President’s Address for the opening of the Grand Court 15 January 2014

1.         Introduction

My Lord Chief Justice, Honourable Judges of the Grand Court, Honourable Chief Magistrate, Honourable Magistrates, distinguished guests, colleagues at the Bar, Ladies and Gentlemen, I rise on behalf of the Caymanian Bar Association to second the motion of the Honourable Attorney General to open the Grand Court for the year 2014.

I too wish to extend a warm welcome to all legal and judicial appointments referenced earlier by the Honourable Attorney General in his remarks. On behalf of the Association, I wish you all much success.

In particular, I would like to congratulate on behalf of the Association Eileen Nervik QC and Ian Paget-Brown QC, who, I believe, raise the number of members of the Association who have taken silk to three, and also to congratulate Colin McKie QC and Trevor Ward QC on their recent appointments as Queens Counsel.

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of a number of members of the profession in 2013 – Melanie McLaughlin, Charles Adams, Neville Levy and Chantal Whittaker. They will all be sorely missed.

With your Lordships’ indulgence, I am honoured to highlight some of the work undertaken by the Association over the past year.

2.         The CBA in 2014

The Association celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013 having been established in 1988 after senior Caymanian attorneys perceived the need for an organisation to address issues of particular relevance to Caymanian attorneys and effectively to represent the views of Caymanian attorneys who were, and are still, a minority in the profession in the Cayman Islands. The late Mr. Ormond Panton served as the Association’s first elected President.

The Association is currently lead by a Council comprised of myself as President, Abraham Thoppil as Vice President, Nick Joseph as Secretary, Brett Basdeo as Treasurer and Neil Timms QC, Anna Goubault, Nick Rogers and Martin Davies as Council members. I wish to publicly express my gratitude to all of the Council members for their service and dedication. Indeed, all of the Council members are busy practitioners who willingly dedicate their time to the Association on a purely voluntary basis. Annual elections will be held next month and I encourage all of our members to embrace the opportunity to step forward and serve.

The Association represents the interests of over 160 Caymanian attorneys, an overwhelming majority of all Caymanians within the profession, and remains committed to  its  mandate  to  serve  the  legal  profession  generally  and  specifically  to  protect, promote  and  enhance  the  interests  of  Caymanian  attorneys  within  it,  including promoting their training and advancement.

In 2008 the Association established an honourary Student Chapter for Caymanian law students studying both locally and abroad, and for articled clerks. We now have over 80 student members. The Student Chapter aims to:

. address  issues  faced  by  Caymanian  students  who  are  striving  to  become members of the legal profession;

. provide networking opportunities with members of the legal profession; and

. allow for students to positively give back to the country by way of a research project undertaken every year which provides an opportunity for the different levels of the Student Chapter to collaborate and work in unison on a single project.

2013’s project comprised a report to be presented to the Human Rights Commission considering the question of whether the creation of a public sex offender registry in the Cayman Islands would be a breach of human rights – in particular, the right to privacy. Once the report has been considered by the HRC, we anticipate its publication on our website.

3.         Education and Training

The Association continues to maintain a close relationship with the Truman Bodden Law School of the Cayman Islands and have discussed with the Law School mutual areas of interest with regards to legal education and training of Caymanians. The Association annually delivers presentations to both Professional Practice Course and first year law students providing those students with information to enable them to be competitive both in the local environment and abroad. We will continue to provide our support to the Law School and the development of our student members over this year and look forward to enhancing our relationship with each.

4.         Caymanian Bar Association Law Library

I am pleased to report that 2014 will see the introduction of the Association’s Legal Reference Library which will be available to the general public. The Reference Library will be located on the 3rd floor of the George Town Public Library and will house the Association’s collection of donated academic materials. The Reference Library would not have been possible but for the generous donation from the law firm of Charles Adams, Ritchie and Duckworth of collections of the Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents and Atkins Court Forms (including volumes prior to 1999). So a special thanks to CARD, and to Ramona Melody, the Director of Public Libraries, who graciously agreed to accommodate the Reference Library at the George Town Public Library. It is hoped that practitioners will find the Reference Library to be complimentary to the legal libraries housed at the Truman Bodden Law School and the Courts Library. In future, it is intended that the Reference Library will also be able to offer online legal research resources.

To maximise the utility of the Reference Library specialist texts are still required. Old and current editions of law school text books, specialist and practitioner texts,

Halsbury’s Laws of England, law reports, legal dictionaries, as well as bound copies of external and/or conference presentations are all welcome.

5.         Legislative Initiatives

The Association has reviewed and provided commentary on a number of important legislative initiatives during the course of last year, including the long anticipated National Conservation Law. The Association typically reviews domestic focussed legislation on its own and generally collaborates with the Law Society with regards to financial services focussed legislation where our interests are often aligned. I believe the President of the Law Society will provide additional details with respect thereto so do not propose to elaborate further.

6.         Legal Practitioners Bill

Unfortunately we were again unsuccessful in our push for the implementation of a modernised Legal Practitioners Law in line with international standards and which provides for the proper regulation and discipline of the profession within and outside of the Cayman Islands. In the absence thereof, the number of overseas practitioners holding themselves out as practicing Cayman Islands law notwithstanding having no connection whatsoever to the Islands continues to grow unchecked and unabated.


The Association remains committed to ensuring that any such legislation affords suitable protection for the recruitment, training and development of Caymanians within the profession and provides proper progression planning, including a commitment to promote Caymanians into true equity positions within local firms. We look forward to working with the new Government, the Law Reform Commission and other stakeholders to ensure that a balanced Bill is passed into law in 2014.

7.         Court facilities

While on the topic of long standing issues; the Association once again joins the call for the update of the Court’s facilities and the pressing need for modern accommodations. I would note the obligation impressed upon Cabinet and the Legislature at section 107 of the 2009 Constitution to ensure that adequate funds are provided to support judicial administration in the Cayman Islands. Perhaps a creative solution can be found in utilising the vacant Tower Building lot or the now vacant Glass House building.

8.         Conclusion

Now it only remains for me formally to second the Honourable Attorney General’s motion to open the Grand Court for 2014 and on behalf of the Caymanian Bar Association I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Judges of the Grand Court, all Summary Court Magistrates, all the Court Staff and fellow members of the legal profession a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2014

Dale Crowley, President, Caymanian Bar Association

15 January 2014

Alasdair-Robertson-_new-web__3_President Of The Cayman Islands Law Society – Address

15 January 2014

May it please your Lordship,  Hon. Justices  Henderson,  Quin,  Jones, Cresswell, Foster Williams, Hon. Chief Magistrate, Hon. Magistrates, my colleagues at the Bar, our Special Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen.

I have had an opportunity to read Mr. Crowley’s speech in advance and confirm that I agree with all he has to say.

In undertaking the Presidency, I informed the Court last year that I intended to characterise it with a theme of “constructive engagement”.  What do I mean by that? In essence, to me it means that we remain open and willing to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders with a view to promoting this honourable profession within the Islands and, in so doing, the interests of the jurisdiction as a whole. I hope that as you will see, the Society has very much sought to do that.

Legislation.   One of the key roles of the Law Society over the years has been to provide input and constructive comments on draft legislation proposed by the Cayman Islands Government, including commenting on reports from the Law Reform Commission.  As the number of new laws and revisions has continued to increase over the years and thanks to the excellent working relationship that the Law Society has with the Caymanian Bar Association; we have either formed joint committees or have, by convention, focused more on legislation that has a cross border element or that affects the financial services industry.

During the course of the year, members of the Law Society have spent countless pro bono hours on the follows topics.

Cayman Islands Public Consultation on Beneficial Ownership.  A committee headed by Martin Livingston with the assistance of James Bagnall, Richard Finlay, Rob Duggan, Barbara Padega, Simone Procter and Alistair Walters has been hard at work providing input and feedback to the Cayman Islands Government on this very important issue which arose out of the G8 Summit last year.   The Committee will finalise its report by the end of the month and I fully expect from conversations with members for their report to provide the Government with reasoned, balanced and sensible responses to the  request  for  consultation  which  will  be  in  the  jurisdiction’s  long  term interests.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments.  The Law Reform Commission has now issued 2 reports and an issues paper on this very important but technically difficult area.   A joint committee of the Law Society and the Caymanian Bar Association  was  formed  comprising  Nigel  Meeson  QC,  Neil  Timms  QC, Matthew Crawford, Peter Hayden, Tony Heaver-Wren and Rachael Reynolds. They have provided detailed responses to the Law Reform Commission on each occasion. I am afraid that the profession have a somewhat different view from the Law Reform Commission as to how this area should be addressed.  It is not an understatement to say that a sensible agreed path forward is critical for the jurisdiction.

Data Protection. A joint Law Society Bar Association committee has probably put  more  hours  into  this  one  piece  of  legislation  than  any  other.  The Committee  headed  by  Olivaire  Watler  and  comprising  Gaela  Fitzgibbons, Martin Livingston, Simone Procter, Chris Russell and Nick Dunne have spent countless hours doing a line by line review of the new legislation which, if introduced, would have a major effect on many aspects of life in the Cayman Islands. Whilst we remain sceptical that there is any real international pressure to enact such a law, it nonetheless remains a duty for us to point out to the policy makers and drafters the potential consequences of such legislation and its specific provisions.

Private Sector Consultation on Revenue Measures Report.   Numerous members provided invaluable input to me as President to present a very comprehensive report to the Ministry of Financial Services to help them form an informed view in relation to the budget this year.

We were very encouraged to hear the Government’s commitment not to introduce any new revenue proposals this year especially in light of the very large  increases  across  the  board  the  previous  year  which  had  seriously affected the profession’s and the jurisdiction’s ability to be competitive.  With the Far East and other new emerging markets being the new frontier for us to expand into, costs are going to be an increasing factor in choice of jurisdiction and thus our ability to provide legal services in the financial sector which forms the largest component of attorneys employed.

It was interesting to hear this year,  not unsurprisingly,  that the financial services sector is the single biggest contributor to the economy of the Cayman Islands and represents 49% of the GDP.  The industry further generates 55%of the revenue of Government.

Consultation Paper and draft Statement of Guidance for Regulated Mutual Funds  – Corporate Governance.   This committee is comprised of Nick Rogers, Phil Millward, Richard Addlestone and James Bagnall.  A very high quality piece of feedback was gratefully received by CIMA.  Several members including practitioners from Appleby and Stuarts Walker Hersant, also provided direct feedback.

Strata Titles Reform.  The Law Society through a committee headed by George  Loutas  and  comprising  Neil Timms  QC,  Neil  Kandelaars,  Ian Jamieson, Stuart Rowe and James Kennedy, responded to the Law Reform Commission’s report issued in January 2013.  This is a critical area of law for many property owners  in  the  Cayman  Islands  and  we  hope  that  the committee’s recommendations, coming from leading practitioners in this area, are adopted.

I should however mention that the LRC’s report did not relate to the provisions that  constituted the Strata Titles  Registration (Amendment) Law, 2012  on which we were not separately asked to comment or review.

Law of Contempt.  We have just received the report from the Law Reform Commission on this area and will be looking to form a committee or joint committee shortly to look into this area in detail.

Work of the Financial Services Legislative Committee  (“FSLC”).  Although not part of the Law Society, many of our members also spent a large amount of time working  on the committee and  the various sub-committees  of the FSLC.  As the FSLC’s proposals and amendments are designed to enhance the jurisdiction, and thus indirectly increase revenue for the Government, we wholeheartedly  support  the  work  of  the  FSLC  on  amendments  to  the Exempted Limited Partnerships Law; a new law to introduce Third Party Rights in contracts; a new law to introduce limited liability companies or LLC, as they are commonly known; and a separate law to introduce limited liability partnerships. These new laws will add additional “strings” to Cayman’s “bow” and very much much hope these initiatives are added to the statute book this year thus further enhancing the Cayman Islands as a leading financial services jurisdiction.

Legal Practitioners Bill.    As this bill seems to have been mentioned in many previous Grand Court opening speeches and in the hope of avoiding repetition of the same points, I will keep my comments brief.   The profession worked hard to try and get a solution last year and despite falling short before the general election, we are still very much of the view that a modern balanced law is essential for the jurisdiction, the profession and the public.

The law itself should be simple and focused.  It should be about the regulation of the profession, who can be admitted, who can practise and how to instill confidence  in  the  public  that  questions  of  malpractice  and  professional discipline are dealt with fairly and transparently.  As much as I hope that all 657 of the attorneys on the Roll today will behave to the high standards of our honourable profession, there needs to be a modern system in place to allow clients to have their grievances fairly resolved.  A conversation with a former President of the Chamber of Commerce after Christmas reminds me that our duty is not to look after our own but to look after the Profession as a whole and all that it stands for.

Education and Training. As Mr Crowley has noted education and training in particular  of  newer  members  of  the  profession  and  those  seeking  to  be admitted are very important. I endorse the words of Mr Crowley and though the Legal Advisory Council, I hope that we can continue to develop this area.

As with the Bar Association, several members of the Society spend numerous pro  bono  hours  teaching  at  the  Law  School  and  for  that  I  would  like  to publically thank them.

Officers of the Society.  I would also like to take this opportunity to specifically thank the Vice Presidents namely Antonia Hardy, James Bagnall and Kevin Butler and also Huw Moses in his role as Secretary for their contribution to the Law Society.

Administration of Justice.   This last year has witnessed the usual business of the Courts being conducted in both the criminal and civil lists.  As always, your Lordship and Honourable Justices and Magistrates are to be commended for so diligently and efficiently disposing of the lists week in and week out and, in particular, for ensuring that the majority of cases were dealt with in a timely manner.   This is clearly important both in respect of local litigation, which affects the lives of the people in the community, and also with regard to the international work which is so vital to maintaining Cayman’s position as a leading financial centre.  Once again, there have been key cases to resolve, and the continued demonstration of the effectiveness of the jurisdiction as an open forum for dispute resolution is maintained.

As always, we are grateful to all those who are responsible for the administration of the Court system and particular thanks goes to the Court Administrator, the Clerk and Deputy Clerks of the Court, the Listing Officer and the Registrar of the Court of Appeal and all those who work with them.

We welcome Sir Bernard Rix, Sir George Newman, and Mr John Martin QC as new members of our Court of Appeal, each of whom has had a highly distinguished legal career.   We also welcome Tomica Daley as our new Registrar  and  deputy Clerk  of  the Court.   2013 marked the retirement of Justice of Appeal Mottley.  We thank him for his long years of service and wish him well in his retirement.

I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of the profession to wish Mr Justice Cresswell all the very best as I understand he retires this year and to express our gratitude for his valuable contribution not only in sitting in the Grand Court but for his work to promote Cayman as a venue for arbitration.

I would also like to second the AG’s and Mr Crowley’s words of congratulations in relation to the admission of Ms Nervik, Mr Ward, Mr Paget-Brown and Mr McKie as Queen’s Counsel.

The Law Society also acknowledges the important work of those who produce the Cayman Islands Law Reports which are in daily use here and are increasingly referred to and cited in other jurisdictions as well.   Our thanks once again go out to Dr. Milner and his team and also Ramon Alberga QC and Colin McKie QC for their continued excellent publishing of our Cayman Islands

Law Reports.

With the passing of each year however comes the passing of some of our honourable colleagues as mentioned by Mr Crowley and it would be remiss for me to not mention in particular Charles Adams OBE, JP. Mr Charles Adams was a former President of the Law Society and the founder of one of our leading firms Charles Adams Ritchie Duckworth.

Now it remains only for me to formally second the Honourable Attorney General’s motion to open the Grand Court of the year 2014 on behalf of the Cayman Islands Law Society, and also to take this opportunity to wish Your Lordship, Judges, court staff and fellow members of the legal profession a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Alasdair Robertson, President, Cayman Islands Law Society



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