Two new judges join Court of Appeal

Summer session includes civil, criminal matters

Justices of Appeal Sir Richard Field and Dennis Morrison are sitting for the first time since their appointment to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal. 

Acting Governor Franz Manderson swore them in on Wednesday. Governor Helen Kilpatrick announced the appointments in January. 

In a statement released by the Cayman Islands Judicial Administration Thursday, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie welcomed the two appointees.  

“It is with great pleasure and anticipation for all the experience and learning that they will bring to our Court of Appeal that I welcome Justices Field and Morrison to the jurisdiction. Given their very varied and diverse experiences in the spheres of academia, practice and judging, we are assured that they will enhance the capacity of the Court of Appeal to deal with the many complex and challenging cases even while it sees to the proper development of the law,” he said. “I hope that they (and whenever possible their wives and extended families) will enjoy their times spent in Cayman,” he added.” 

Sir Richard served as a judge of the High Court, London, from 2002 to 2014. He had responsibility for the Commercial Court and was presiding judge on the Western Circuit. He previously practiced at the Bar in London. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1987 and has appeared in the Cayman Islands courts in that capacity. 

Sir Richard said he is looking forward to learning in his new environment in Cayman and contributing to the vibrancy of the law.  

“I have a strong interest in the development of the law,” he said, adding, “I know, too, that Cayman’s status as a major international legal center gives rise to many interesting and complex commercial disputes.” 

Justice Morrison serves on in the Jamaican Court of Appeal, a position he has held since 2008. He was a Judge of Appeal in the Belizean Court of Appeal from 2004 until March 2015. Prior to being appointed to the bench, he practiced at the Bar in Jamaica for more than 25 years. Justice Morrison was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1994 and has appeared in various Caribbean courts, including in the Cayman Islands. He taught law full-time at the Norman Manley Law School in Kingston and continues to serve as an associate tutor. 

Justice Morrison practiced at the Dunn Cox Jamaican law firm for many years as head of the Litigation Department. His practice included arbitration matters, including industrial relations, supported by qualification as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. 

Justice Morrison said he has always been mindful of how the law impacts the lives of people who come before him. For example, he noted, he is only too aware of how adjournments of trial hearings can add to the distress of those who appear before him. 

He said he considers that his relationships with his peer judges and with the people who appear before him have equal importance: “I try to relate to everyone the same way, with courtesy and with a willingness to understand their perspectives.” 

The third judge sitting for this session, which runs through July 24, is Justice Elliott Mottley. 

“Given their very varied and diverse experiences in the spheres of academia, practice and judging, we are assured that they will enhance the capacity of the Court of Appeal to deal with the many complex and challenging cases even while it sees to the proper development of the law.”

ANTHONY SMELLIE, Chief Justice 

Acting Governor Franz Manderson, third from left, administered the oaths of office formally appointing two new judges to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, Justices Sir Richard Field and Dennis Morrison, center. Attending the ceremony, from left, were Justice Elliott Mottley and Lady Marion Field, and, to the far right, Court of Appeal Registrar Audrey Bodden and Chief Justice Anthony Smellie.

Acting Governor Franz Manderson, third from left, administered the oaths of office formally appointing two new judges to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, Justices Sir Richard Field and Dennis Morrison, center. Attending the ceremony, from left, were Justice Elliott Mottley and Lady Marion Field, and, to the far right, Court of Appeal Registrar Audrey Bodden and Chief Justice Anthony Smellie.
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