Local community mourns barrister

Richard M. de Lacy, a barrister, thespian and musician, passed away Monday evening at the age of 62.

Mr. de Lacy is survived by three children, Barbara, Edward and Philippa, and by a grandson, Felix. His family will celebrate his life in a memorial service in London in the autumn.

Mr. de Lacy, a former head of litigation at Ogier LLP’s Cayman office, moved to Cayman in 2011 and quickly set about involving himself in the island’s creative world. He played the viola in the orchestra for Cayman Drama Society renditions of “Jekyll and Hyde” and “Rent,” and provided memorable acting performances as part of the cast for “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Yes Minister.”

The barrister was educated at Cambridge University and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in July 1976. He served as Queen’s Counsel and barrister for 3 Stone Buildings in London for eight years, and worked for Ogier LLP for nearly three years in Cayman before moving to Smeets Law, now known as FrancisGrey.

Janet Francis, an attorney at FrancisGrey, spoke Thursday about the loss of Mr. de Lacy.

“He was very knowledgeable on many areas of the law and we relied on him in contentious matters. As a person, apart from being a practitioner, he was very giving,” she said. “He was indeed very talented in the arts. He was fluent in French and had a fine appreciation for the arts. He spoke knowledgably about art and he was in fact a great contributor to the music arena at his church, St. George’s [Anglican] Church.… He worked for us since December of 2015 and his contribution will definitely be missed.”

Mr. de Lacy was born in Kingston Upon Hull, East Yorkshire, U.K., in 1954, the oldest of three brothers. He was a Classics scholar and a member of the Chapel Choir during his time at Clare College, Cambridge. He married Sybil del Strother in 1980, and they were married for 21 years.

He specialized in litigation centered on banking, insolvency and negligence. In addition to his legal career, Mr. de Lacy worked as a visiting professor for the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London from 2009 to 2011 before relocating to the Caribbean.

He practiced as a barrister with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands) and later served as deputy chairman of the Cayman Islands Conditional Release Board from 2016 until his passing.


Anthony Smellie, chief justice, released a statement about the passing of Mr. de Lacy.


“On behalf of the Cayman Islands Judiciary, I extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of our brother Richard De Lacy QC, on his sudden passing,” he said. “Ever since his first appearances before our Courts,  it was immediately apparent that the practice of law in the Islands would be enhanced by Richard’s presence. His wealth of knowledge and experience coupled with a formidable intellect but calm and kind manner made him an ideal advocate, one whose appearance before the courts was always welcomed by the judges with a true sense of equanimity.


“We knew that we could trust and rely upon his research and arguments, assured that they were always of the highest caliber and presented in keeping with the uncompromising standards of his calling. Richard enjoyed the wide respect and admiration of his professional colleagues. This was apparent for instance, from his role as a founding member of the Cayman Association of Recovery and Insolvency Specialists and his work as a focal member of that body’s education committee.


“He readily also gave of his time and talents in service of the wider community and is well known and loved for his roles in local stage productions as a musician and dramatist.

I had the privilege also of getting to know Richard as a fellow congregant of St George’s Anglican Church where he was a devout member and chorister and where he will be deeply missed”.


Peter Gough, strategic adviser to the deputy governor, said that Mr. de Lacy and the release board interviewed more than 50 offenders and victims before making decisions on conditional release and the imposition of license conditions and recalling parolees to prison.

“Richard was an excellent lawyer and mentor,” said Rachael Reynolds, who worked closely with Mr. de Lacy at Ogiers. “He loved the law and had a phenomenal memory. He was impressive in court and was admired as an advocate. He will be missed, and fondly remembered by all of us who worked with him.”

Sheree Ebanks, chairman of the Cayman Drama Society, said he left an indelible impression.

“From a personal perspective, Richard was not only an intellect but also had a great sense of humor,” she said. “… Richard moved at his own pace and played each character with aplomb, with the director never really knowing what Richard will bring. He was an incredible talent on stage, as well as musically. His intellect, talents and humor will be missed by all who knew him.”

Barrie and Chuck Quappe, who played with Mr. de Lacy in the orchestra, remembered their peer as a talented artist known for his love of music and his ability to engage with fellow musicians.

He had a sharp mind, quick wit and we will miss the many discussions shared after performances were done. He was a gift to our creative community. He is already sorely missed. A bit in shock, many are,” Barrie Quappe said.

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