Judicial commission brings big changes

The average 28-year-old woman might
not relish sitting in meetings for hours with a bunch of men who – at the least
– are twice her age.

Then again, Dara Flowers-Burke
would probably not qualify as “average” in anyone’s book.

For instance, she has a bachelor of
fine arts degree in filmic writing with a minor in communication from the
University of Southern California, and she is in her last year of law school as
she pursues a law degree. She has served as a director on the Cayman Turtle
Farm board, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Flowers Group. So she’s
your basic creative writer/law student/business-person type who, by the way,
has a knack for organising major sporting events. 

Added to that diverse resume is a
recent gubernatorial appointment, making her the youngest member of the
eight-person Judicial and Legal Services Commission – an authority created
under Cayman’s revised 2009 Constitution.

Other appointments to this body
include, by all accounts, an impressive list of international legal minds,
including former Cayman Islands Attorney General Richard Coles, former Cayman
Islands Court of Appeal President Justice Edward Zacca, current Court of Appeal
President Sir John Chadwick, Sir David Anthony Simmons, Richard Ground QC, and
Cayman Islands Law Society President Charles Jennings.

Mrs Flowers-Burke is the only
member of the commission, besides chairman Dan Scott, who is not an attorney.
It is actually ordered by the 2009 Constitution that the head of the commission
and one other member shall not be attorneys, allowing for a non-legal
perspective to be included.

An honour and a privilege

“It’s something I’m really excited
about,” Mrs. Flowers Burke said of her appointment. “I am honoured to be
appointed to the JLSC, I believe that this appointment is important in giving
young people in Cayman a voice, and it is a privilege to serve the country
which I hold so dear.”

The Judicial and Legal Services
Commission represents an important departure from the previous way of handling
the appointment of judges and other critical legal posts within government,
which, until the 2009 Constitution, were basically under the sole discretion of
the governor, acting upon advice from the Chief Justice in some cases.

The commission will now take an
active role on advising the governor on appointments of the Cayman Islands
Chief Justice, judges of the Grand Court, the president of the Court of Appeal,
judges of the Court of Appeal, the Attorney General, the Director of Public
Prosecutions, magistrates and other offices in the public service that require
a legal qualification.

Commission members will also advise
the governor on disciplinary matters relating to people in these offices.

Other members of the Judicial and
Legal Services Commission appointed on Thursday by Governor Duncan Taylor are:

Sir John Chadwick

He was called to the Bar of England
and Wales by Inner Temple (Bencher 1986, Treasurer 2004). In 1966 he was in
private practice litigation and advisory work, principally in property, company
insolvency, banking, insurance and matters including litigation in Malaysia,
Hong Kong and Bermuda. From 1967-199l he was standing counsel to the Department
of Trade and Industry; 1974-1980 appointed Queen’s Counsel; 1980 judge of the
Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey; 1986-1993 recorder of Crown Courts in
England and Wales; 1989-1991 judge of the High Court of England and Wales assigned
to the Chancery Division; 1991-1997 Chancery Supervising Judge, Birmingham,
Bristol and Cardiff; 1993-1997 appointed to HM Privy Council; 1997 judge of the
Courts of Appeal of England and Wales; 1997-2007 appointed judge of the Court
of Appeal of Dubai International Financial Centre; 2008 appointed lieutenant
bailiff (judge) in Guernsey and appointed president of the Court of Appeal of
the Cayman Islands.

Edward Zacca, JA, OJ

He was chief justice of the
Jamaican Supreme Court from 1985 to 1996 and in accordance with the Constitution
of Jamaica, he served as acting governor general from March to August 1991. Mr.
Zacca has had a long association with the Cayman Islands beginning in 1967 when
he presided in the Grand Court over one of the then rare murder trials. Prior
to the establishment of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal in 1984, he was a
member of the Jamaica Court of Appeal which heard appeal cases from Cayman. He
served as president of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal from 1984 to 2008 and
also served on the Bahamas Court of Appeal from March 2000 to July 2001. He is
currently president of the Bermuda Court of Appeal, a position he has occupied
since 2004 having served as appeal judge since 1996 in that jurisdiction.

Sir David Anthony Simmons, KA, BCH, QC, LLM (London)

He entered the Faculty of Law at
the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1960 and graduated with
an LLB degree in 1963. After additional reading he was awarded an LLM degree in
1965.  He lectured in law in London until
his return to Barbados in 1970. Between 1970 and 1974, he was a part-time
lecturer in law at the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies. Mr.
Simmons has had an outstanding career as a lawyer in Barbados and was appointed
Queen’s Counsel in 1984. He served continuously for 25 years in the Parliament
of Barbados from February 1976 to August 2001, on which date he retired from
active politics. Twice he served as attorney general of Barbados; first, from
1985 to 1986, and, more recently, from September 1994 to August 2001. On many
occasions during the latter period, Mr. Simmons acted as prime minister of Barbados.
He assumed office as the 12th Chief Justice of Barbados on 1 January 2002. In
2003, he was made an Honourary Fellow of the University of the West Indies and
was also awarded the honourary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the University
of London – the first Caribbean person to be accorded that high distinction by
that University. In 2006, Sir David was elected as an Honourary Bencher of the
Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, the Inn of Court at which he qualified as
a barrister-at-law. As attorney general, he presided over many initiatives and
conferences, including as chairman of the Preparatory Committee to establish
the Caribbean Court of Justice (1999-2001); first chairman of the Regional
Judicial and Legal Services Commission (2003-2004). In 2001, for his contribution
to public service, law and politics, he was awarded the Barbados Centennial
Honour (BCH), and Barbados’ highest national honour, Knight of St. Andrew
(KA).  He is currently chairman of the Integrity
Commission in Turks and Caicos and will be appointed member and chairman of the
Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 coup attempt in Trinidad.

Richard Ground OBE QC

He was called to the Bar in Gray’s
Inn, in 1975 and began his legal career in private practice at Brick Court,
Middle Temple, where he specialized in media law from 1976 to 83. In 1983 he
moved to the Cayman Islands as Senior Crown Counsel and was appointed Queens
Counsel (Cayman Islands) in 1987. He held the position of Attorney General of
the Cayman Islands from 1987 to 1992. In 1991 he was awarded the OBE in the New
Year’s Honours List 1991 for his services as Attorney General in Cayman. He was
a judge of the Supreme Court of Bermuda from 1992 to 1998 and Chief Justice of
the Turks & Caicos Islands from 1998 to 2004. He has been Chief Justice of
Bermuda since March 2004.

Richard Coles

He studied at the College of Law in
London and is a Fellow of the Caribbean Law Institute. He is an experienced
lawyer both in England and in the Cayman Islands, being a solicitor admitted in
England, a Cayman Islands attorney and Notary Public. Prior to coming to the
Cayman Islands he was the founding partner of a substantial firm of solicitors with
offices in England. From 1992 to 1999 he was the Attorney General for the
Cayman Islands, a member of the Cabinet and Legislative Assembly. Mr. Coles is
a member of the Law Society of England, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association,
the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and the Institute of Advanced Legal
Studies in London. He also has the distinction of being a Freeman of the City
of London. Since 1 December 2009, Mr. Coles has held the position of chair of
the Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission.

Charles Jennings

He was managing partner of Maples
British Virgin Islands office in 2005 and its London office in 2006-2007,
returning to Cayman on being appointed joint worldwide managing partner in
2008. He practiced as a lawyer with Maples and Calder from 1986 until his retirement
in 2009, having been made partner in 1992. He is the president of the Cayman
Islands Law Society, a position he has held since 2001 (except for the two
years he was in London), and is the chair of the Government’s Financial
Services Legislation Committee.