Magistrate’s contract extended not renewed

Grace Donalds will finish up existing work

Magistrate Grace Donalds’ contract
has been extended for a limited time, a spokesman from the Governor’s Office
confirmed yesterday.

Until the present Constitution came
into effect last November, magistrates were appointed by the governor under the
Summary Jurisdiction Law.

Head of the Governor’s Office Steve
Moore said the new contract arrangement was not a renewal or a re-appointment.
The extension will allow Mrs. Donalds to clear up unfinished work, he
explained, adding that after the cases before her are completed, a new
magistrate will be appointed.

The Constitution sets 65 as the age
at which judges of the Grand Court shall vacate their office, but magistrates
are not at the Grand Court level. They preside in Summary Court, which is
subordinate to the Grand Court.

Terms and conditions of service for
magistrates come from the Personnel Regulations made under the Public Service
Management Law. The specified compulsory retirement age is 60. On reaching retirement
age, a person may be re-appointed on a new fixed-term employment agreement for
a period of no more than two years.

It is understood that Magistrate
Donalds had already received one two-year contract upon reaching retirement
age.

In recent years, her schedule has
been to preside in the criminal division of Summary Court on Mondays, Tuesdays
and Thursday, while holding Traffic Court on Wednesdays and alternating with
Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale and Magistrate Nova Hall on Fridays in
courts dealing with civil matters, maintenance and young persons. Mrs. Donalds
was in court yesterday as usual.

She was appointed magistrate in
1993.

Born in Jamaica, she graduated from
Wellesley College in 1969 and obtained her law degree with honours in London in
1974.

Mrs. Donalds was a lecturer at the
Cayman Islands Law School 1984-87, then served as Deputy Clerk of Court
1988-93.

Under the new Constitution, the
appointment of a new magistrate will come under the Judicial and Legal Services
Commission, which will advise the Governor accordingly. Commission members were
appointed earlier this month (Caymanian Compass, 5 August).

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