A new nonresident judge has commenced sitting in the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court.
Justice Nigel Clifford, QC, was sworn in via Skype in January and started work as a judge in late February.
Even though he serves as a nonresident judge, Justice Clifford has extensive experience with the Cayman Islands. He started his professional career with local law firm Hunter & Hunter as an associate in 1987. Practicing in civil and commercial litigation, he appeared before the courts of Cayman in a wide range of cases.
He became senior litigation partner at Hunter & Hunter in 1995, and later was senior counsel with successor firm Appleby Cayman. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2004.
In his legal career, Mr. Clifford focused particularly on cross-border insolvency and company liquidations in many international jurisdictions.
He has given expert witness evidence in courts in the U.S. and Panama on Cayman Islands law. Notably, he served as the lead attorney for the Cayman Islands liquidators of BCCI, then the world’s largest financial insolvency that involved lawyers and other professionals in many jurisdictions around the world.
“I am pleased I can round off my career in the important Financial Services Division of the court, and that I can use my relevant experience for this purpose,” Justice Clifford said in a statement released by the Cayman Islands Judicial Administration this week.
“Cayman has been a very important part of my life, and I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to maintain my connection with the Cayman Islands and to serve in this capacity,” he added.
Now resident in England, Justice Clifford plans to commute to Cayman several times a year as necessary. Under the Grand Court rules, preliminary work on cases can be arranged by video link and conference calls.
Welcoming the new judge, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said, “I am very pleased to be able to welcome Justice Clifford as a colleague of the Cayman judiciary.”
He said, “Our acquaintance goes back, of course, many years to when he first came to practice in Cayman, and more latterly as he served as lead counsel in the BCCI liquidation for which I was the supervising judge.”
The chief justice added that in Justice Clifford the judicial administration was fortunate to have attracted someone “with the strong intellectual capabilities and unyielding work ethic required to meet the demands of the Grand Court, and especially of the FSD, in today’s commercial environment.”
Justice Clifford’s local knowledge of and experience with Cayman law and practice enable him from the outset to deal with the full range of cases coming before this division of the Court, Mr. Smellie said. “I hope that Justice Clifford and his wife Penny and their daughters will enjoy their times to come in Cayman, which I know they still regard with deep affection.”
Mr. Clifford’s daughters, Josie and Louise, spent their formative years in Cayman and received their early education here.
Mr. Clifford was born in Kenya, where he also attended high school. In addition to his previous role as a local barrister, he served as president of the Cayman Islands Law Society in 2001. He was also a member of the Private Sector Consultative Committee, and in 2005 he became the first chairman of the Cayman Islands Law Reform Commission.
Also engaged in civil initiatives, he was a founding director of Cayman HospiceCare.