October 20, 2020

The Editor Speaks: New Justice of the Peace regulations to be introduced

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Colin WilsonI am sure local attorney Peter Polack is going to applaud the tabling by Cayman Islands Deputy Governor, Franz Manderson, for revised regulations for the appointment and training of Justices of the Peace.

Manderson made the announcement last Friday (17) in the Legislative Assembly and said Cabinet had approved the new regulations that followed on from the passage of amendments to the summary jurisdiction law last year. He added the regulations will come into effect on May 1st and will govern the appointment and conduct of all JPs.

Manderson also said the regulations would provide for a more formalised appointment process, a requirement for ongoing training and a code of conduct.

What will please Polack most I believe is a complaints process that has been created for members of the public not satisfied with the services of JPs and the regulations mandate proper record keeping. Our intrepid lawyer has been complaining for a year about an unlawful warrant a JP signed on a client of his and he had no one to complain to.

The Deputy Governor said preparations had been made with all the law enforcement agencies, who have issued documentation to standardise the approach when asking JP’s to sign warrants.

If someone believes a JP has acted outside of the law he or she can complain to the clerk of the court with the facts, and where it is not frivolous or vexatious, the JP will be notified and both their response and the complaint will be forwarded to the Attorney General (AG) within twenty-one days. The AG then reports back to the Governor. The Governor then advises the Chief Justice who will appoint a tribunal. If the tribunal upholds the complaint the JP can appeal to the courts.

And if you believe all this will proceed smoothly and with speed you must be living on another planet!

And if you believe many complaints will actually get very far is open to question, especially from a now cynical old mind like mine. That tribunal to assess the complaint will include a magistrate and two JP’s nominated by the Justices of the Peace Association! They will also have the power to not only dismiss or uphold the complaint but to censure or to suspend or remove the JP.

Of course, now the JP’s are going to be properly trained before they are appointed there should be very few complaints ………? Hmm.

Manderson with great diplomacy said, “The regulations will enhance and formalise the good work being done by justices of the peace.”

Now I am waiting for Mr Peter Polack’s take on all this……

Over to you Peter.

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