One of the founding judges of the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court has retired.
A farewell ceremony, hosted by Governor Helen Kilpatrick, was held late last month for Justice Angus Foster.
Along with five other judges, Justice Foster was a founding judge of the Financial Services Division in 2009, following his retirement from Walkers as a commercial lawyer and litigator.
According to a Cayman Islands Judicial Administration press release, at the ceremony, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie described the Financial Services Division as a legacy to which Justice Foster could justly lay claim as one of the pioneer judges.
“It is not for me to extol the virtues of the FSD, but I think I can be allowed to assert that it has become an effective institution, one now widely recognized as a leading commercial court,” Mr. Smellie said.
The chief justice said Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, had invited Mr. Smellie to subscribe the Financial Services Division to join a standing forum of leading international commercial courts. The objective of the forum includes the facilitation of international cooperation for more effective resolution of cross-border cases and the creation of channels of online communication among commercial judges worldwide as a means of exchanging news of developments.
Many of Justice Foster’s judgments have been reported in the Cayman Islands Law Reports, the release noted. Similarly, several of the cases in which he appeared as an attorney are recorded in the reports.
Justice Foster also served as chairman of the Financial Services Division Users’ Committee and edited the second edition of the Financial Services Division Users’ Guide.
“I am pleased that he has agreed to continue to chair this important committee for at least one more year,” added Mr. Smellie.
The release states that the chief justice also noted that prior to Justice Foster’s appointment as a judge, he contributed significantly to local legal and judicial developments.
“As Chief Justice, I will most fondly remember an initiative he took while head of litigation [at Walkers] to support the administration of justice,” Mr. Smellie said, noting that around 2000, following a judge’s plea for more legal aid practitioners, Justice Foster offered to set up a criminal practice office to take on legal aid cases.
That resulted in the opening of Walkers’ criminal practice office in the then McDonald Building next to the Town Hall. Although its operation was regarded as no longer sustainable after the 2004 Hurricane Ivan and the financial crisis of 2008, one of the former practitioners in that office, Lawrence Aiolfi, has since returned to practise at the criminal bar in Cayman.
In his remarks, Justice Foster paid tribute to his judicial colleagues, as well as the complement of magistrates, for their industry in “churning out judgments case after case.”
Justice Foster further recognized the helpfulness of the court staff over the years, especially Yasmin Ebanks, who serves as the Financial Services Division’s listing officer. He also paid tribute to the “professionalism and courtesy” of the barristers who have appeared before him, saying that they were “a great credit to the judicial system.”
Among barristers he specially admired, he said, was Ramon Alberga, considered the father of the Cayman bar.
“Ramon has been a great companion, lawyer, and role model,” Justice Foster said.
Justice Foster’s wife Fiona’s supporting role to her husband was recognized during the night as well. “We are here to celebrate retirement as a special milestone,” the Chief Justice said, “As a mark of appreciation for the contributions made by our friend and colleague, supported by a very caring and supportive wife.”