Cayman’s judicial leaders have said they will continue to prioritise implementing best practices to improve court efficiency.

The comment follows a recent Office of the Auditor General’s ‘Efficiency of Summary Courts’ report which stated that a lack of performance and financial information made it “difficult to assess the overall efficiency and effectiveness of Summary Courts or Judicial Administration”.

Responding to queries from the Cayman Compass, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said he has received the final report and its recommendations.
“As the Head of the Judiciary, he [Smellie] continues to prioritise implementing suitable best practices to improve court efficiency in the round and to engage relevant stakeholders in doing so, even amongst the court’s current infrastructure and human resource constraints,” Judicial Administration statement.

The 43-page report evaluated the efficiency of processing Summary Court cases. It also reviewed how Judicial Administration was performing, how it used resources, and its relationships with other justice partners and court users.

In the statement, Smellie said during the course of 2019 both he and key staff members openly engaged with the Office of the Auditor General regarding the audit of Summary Court efficiency.

Smellie, in his statement, said he will deliver a more comprehensive response to the report at the opening of the Grand Court on 15 Jan.

“There are many things to consider arising out of the report of the Auditor General’s Office,” Smellie said.

Auditor General Sue Winspear expressed concern over plans for the redevelopment of the courthouse, saying that, at this stage, she could not assess the value for money of the proposed multi-million-dollar investment since the Outline Business Case was still being drafted.

She said the current facilities are not fit for purpose.

The Judicial Administration statement welcomed the planned court improvements.

“These initial improvements will temporarily assist in reducing the displacement of other courts, thus shortening the delay in resolution of court cases,” Smellie said in the statement, adding that the chief justice thanked the government for its commitment to fund the first phase of expanded court facilities “which will include a temporary Grand Court and a permanent home to the Court of Appeal”.

The auditor general found that there were a number of significant gaps in the information presented for the court project.

“For example, there is no recent analysis of current and future workload that justifies the need for the number of court rooms being proposed,” Winspear said.

A total of 10 court rooms are planned for the new facility. However, the report noted the projected space requirement appears to be based on experience rather than any study.