Number of legal practitioners grows

The year 2006 was marked by more highs than lows for the legal profession, Ramon Alberga QC said at the opening of Grand Court Wednesday.

Mr. Alberga

Mr. Alberga

A senior member of the Cayman Bar, Mr. Alberga has become an unofficial record keeper and general commentator at ceremonial functions.

He said judges had been particularly active in 2006 in the production of comprehensive written decisions in many areas of law. They had produced 104 written judgments and rulings, which required much time and effort outside of court hours.

He thanked them on behalf of the profession and the parties that have to resort to the court for resolution of difficulties.

These writings analyse arguments and cite authorities, making them particularly helpful in the development of Cayman law and jurisprudence, he said. Published law reports continue to grow and are frequently cited in other jurisdictions, he said.

There was also significant growth in the number of attorneys in Cayman, with 71 admitted to practise generally and 49 orders for limited admission to argue specific cases.

The number of attorneys with practising certificates at the end of 2006 was 409. With members of the Legal Department added, the number is 425.

If Cayman’s population is 50,150, the ratio is one attorney for every 118 people, Mr. Alberga said. He said this reflected the steady growth of work undertaken and the confidence clients have in the courts here.

Another high of the year was the honorary Doctor of Laws degree conferred on Chief Justice Anthony Smellie by the University of Liverpool at the Law School graduation.

It was a great and well-deserved compliment to the Chief Justice, to the Cayman Islands and to the legal profession, Mr. Alberga said. Such a degree is only conferred on persons recognised for their great legal knowledge and high judicial acumen.

Mr. Alberga joined Law Society president Charles Quin, QC in congratulating Attorney Charles Adams, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

He expressed continued confidence in the judiciary’s ability to meet the challenges ahead and affirmed that judges could expect the profession’s fullest cooperation in the discharge of their arduous duties.

Mr. Alberga wished for all a happy, successful and not too hectic 2007.