November 30, 2021

The Editor Speaks: Why do we need outside help to resolve our legal problems?

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Colin Wilsonweb2It has always been a surprise to me that it seems every time we have a legal problem, both the Attorney General and the Solicitor General seek outside help.

Between 2010 and 2013 over $1.5M was spent paying outside legal fees. And this large sum is rising all the time.

Nowhere can I find any references to tenders being sought for any of the legal services. If not. Why not? If yes? What were they?

We are being kept in the dark it would seem. And it is OUR money.

Last month the Chief Justice, Anthony Smellie, ruled the immigration appeals tribunal had to re-hear two cases on permanent residency. He criticised the arbitrary nature of the system.

The two cases were similar and involved two women who had been refused permanent residency after the tribunal altered their points to increase some categories but decrease others. There was no explanation given as to why and the two women were not given a chance to argue against why the points were cut.

Some tribunal!

“It is difficult to imagine a policy that could be more opaque, uncertain and prone to arbitrariness than one by which points are to be allocated to occupations based upon merely subjective assessments of their importance in the context of the local economy,” the Chief Justice said.

The tribunal’s decision was based on points awards on information that wasn’t even seen by the applicants or produced at the court hearing.

When Chief Justice Smellie sent the cases back he told the tribunal they must make their decision based on the laws in place at the time of the applications and based on the merits of the applications. No unauthorized documents must be used, he said. He even questioned the validity of the points charts used and said there could also be bias and in both cases the tribunal had acted against the principles of natural justice.

Even with my very limited knowledge of law one could see all this and it baffles me how government manage to find persons to go on these boards that don’t seem to have any idea what is right and what is wrong. One must question whether they are being told what they must decide BEFORE the tribunal even begins. I pray that is not the case but one must now consider it.

The government was ordered to pay the costs for the applicants’ lawyers as well as paying its own bill in defence of the tribunals awful decisions.

That means WE pay it.

Now over such a simple thing the government, instead of immediately going to our two legal peers who are paid high salaries to sort out legalities and make sure fairness is at the top of all decision making, have turned to outside lawyers to revisit the Immigration Law and Regulations. Please see iNews Cayman story published September 24th “Cayman Islands government taking advice on Permanent Residency” at:

In the above government release it states they have “directed that the review be completed as expeditiously as possible taking into account the complexity and scope of the issues to be covered”.

Ah. There is the answer. The case is complex.

And may I ask was David Ritch’s firm employed only because of his “seasoned immigration law” expertise? Presumably no other firm had such a high qualified lawyer in its midst and this stopped the need to actually ask for tenders to be submitted.

I have to ask, (aren’t I a nuisance?) how many actual persons will be employed who actually work full time at the Attorney General’s Chambers? Will Mr Ritch be training them as well in the complexities of immigration laws so we don’t have to again pay outside lawyers?

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