Judiciary heads in Cayman

The Cayman Islands is the venue for the Eighth Annual Conference of Caribbean Heads of Judiciary.

This is the first time the conference is being held on Grand Cayman.

Cayman’s Chief Justice Anthony Smellie will host the heads of judiciary representing 17 Caribbean nations and the Caribbean Court of Justice from Wednesday through Friday at the conference at the Ritz Carlton, states a GIS press release.

‘The purpose of the meeting is to discuss matters of common concern, and to benefit from each other’s experience as well as to share innovations and changes in practice in the various jurisdictions,’ Mr. Smellie said.

The theme of the conference’s plenary during the open session Thursday is The Role of the Judiciary in Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development.

Participants in the open session include Governor Stuart Jack and Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts.

Guest speakers are Justice Thomas Braidwood, a former appeal court judge in British Columbia, Canada, and Ms Lisa-Ann Hurlston, sustainable development coordinator in the Department of Environment, who will outline Cayman’s new initiatives in environmental protection and the challenges ahead.

‘Environmental issues have become so vitally important worldwide that it is imperative for all to have a heightened awareness. The judiciary has the obligation to be aware of international environmental standards as well as local laws and, where local laws allow, apply the principles in decision making processes, particularly in reference to international conventions,’ said Mr. Smellie.

He said Mr. Braidwood will talk about the need for enhanced awareness and provide greater insights into international conventions that have gained special importance in today’s world.

A key topic will be ways of dealing with delays in the criminal justice system, a topic of major concern in the Cayman Islands and larger jurisdictions that constantly grapple with how to expedite cases and conclude them in a timely manner.

Other topics will include judicial reforms in the Cayman Islands.

Tours of the electronic court in Kirk House will be provided. This facility of the Grand Court plays a pivotal role in the court’s ability to conduct criminal and civil proceedings. These facilities have also been used for taking evidence from parties in other jurisdictions during trial proceedings or from juveniles or threatened witnesses.

The delegates will agree on a position paper at the final session of the conference.

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