Cayman has more than 150 justices of the peace
Fifteen new justices of the peace were appointed last week and sworn in by Deputy Clerk of Court Cecile Collins during at a special court ceremony in Grand Cayman.
Attorney General Samuel Bulgin congratulated them and said their appointment was prestigious, but it was not meant to be merely symbolic. “It is meant to be an obligation to further assist your country,” he said.
“Your appointment means that even though you have no formal legal training you have been adjudged as having the common sense, intelligence, integrity and capacity to act fairly, and prepared to give freely of your time for no material reward … Under no circumstances should you act in matters where you have an obvious or potential conflict of interest, whether the interest is personal, pecuniary or otherwise,” Mr. Bulgin said.
Former Magistrate Grace Donalds facilitated an orientation session for the JPs before their swearing in. She was assisted Debra Humphries, president of the Justice of the Peace Association, other association members and court staff.
There are now more than 150 JPs in the Cayman Islands. In the future, new and existing members will continue to benefit from mandatory training sessions, according to a news release issued by Government Information Services.
Among those attending the ceremony were Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson.
Mr. Taylor, who signed the warrants of appointment, thanked the men and women for taking on this significant responsibility in service to the people of the Cayman Islands. They will strengthen the capacity of the local judicial system to provide official services to members of the public, he said.
Representatives of the Cayman Islands Justice of the Peace Association and relatives of the appointees also witnessed the event.
The GIS release explains that JPs are appointed by the governor under the Summary Jurisdiction Law, which regulates the operation of the summary – or magistrate’s – courts. They have authority to preside over certain criminal cases. They also have powers to issue summonses and warrants; to take affidavits; to administer oaths, solemn declarations and affirmations; and to admit persons to bail, or remand them. They also possess general judicial and administrative powers in relation to the administration of justice.
JPs may also serve, as required, in the Youth Court, or otherwise, in addition to their duties of assisting with passport applications and other documents; and assisting their communities with various initiatives – such as working to divert vulnerable or at-risk youths away from the penal justice system.