Permanent residence challenge put off until summer

Court to rule on whether damages can be claimed due to delay

An accountant who filed a court challenge over how long it took the government to hear his application for permanent residence is likely to have his case heard sometime in June or July.

According to attorneys with HSM Chambers, Bradley Carpenter’s judicial review hearing is now listed for “the first open date after May 26” following a directions hearing in court Friday.

Cayman’s general election date is May 24.

Attorneys expected the hearing would take about three days.

According to a judicial review request filed in October, Mr. Carpenter, who applied for permanent residence in October 2013, suddenly found that his “permission to continue working” status pending approval of his application had been changed to a “visitor’s” permit by the Immigration Department.

No reason was given in the court records as to why Mr. Carpenter and his wife had their “permission to continue working” designation changed, but they filed a legal challenge Oct. 10, 2016 following that decision.

Grand Court Justice Ingrid Mangatal scheduled a hearing to consider the judicial review application concerning Mr. Carpenter’s case for Nov. 8, 2016. Four days before the court hearing, Mr. Carpenter was informed that his permanent residence application had been granted.

Justice Mangatal ruled that the judicial review application should proceed, despite the fact Mr. Carpenter had already been granted permanent residence.

According to his attorneys, Mr. Carpenter’s hearing will be held to consider the legality of the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board/chief immigration officer’s decision not to conclude his application within a reasonable period of time.

The court will also consider whether Mr. Carpenter can claim any damages because of the three-year delay.

The period between the date a permanent residence application is filed and when the government considers it has become a crucial legal point in the wake of a U.K. Privy Council judgment released in mid-2016.

In that judgment, the Privy Council’s judicial committee overturned an earlier decision of an eastern Caribbean court, ruling that a 19-month delay in registering an application for citizenship was too long and was “likely to be unlawful” when considering the applicant’s human rights, according to the judgment issued Aug. 2, 2016.

“We … conclude that a period of one year, from application to registration … is in general the outside limit of a reasonable time and that delay beyond that time, absent special considerations, is likely to be unlawful because a fetter on the legitimate applicant’s right to be registered,” the court ruled.

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