The governor has appointed three new acting magistrates to help deal with the growing workload in Cayman’s Summary Courts.

A press release issued by the Governor’s Office on Monday noted that the acting magistrates – Vanessa Allard, Robert Jones and David McGrath – had been appointed on the recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Services to Governor Martyn Roper in response to the increased workload due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The appointments took effect on 8 June, for a period of six months.

“I would like to thank the newly appointed Acting Magistrates for stepping forward during a time of need allowing for the administration of justice to be continued in a fair and prompt manner,” Roper said in the release. “This is yet another example of how the Cayman Islands have demonstrated a robust approach to dealing with consequences of a global health pandemic.”

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie was quoted in the release as saying, “The appointment of Acting Magistrates Allard, Jones, and McGrath has served to continue to strengthen the Cayman Islands Judiciary, particularly during this difficult time. They are each highly respected in their relevant areas of practice and the Judiciary looks forward to benefiting from their legal qualifications, skills and experiences.

The release included biographical details of the three appointees, as follows:

Vanessa Allard has more than 20 years’ experience as a litigator. Initially practising in Jamaica for five years, she spent the past 15 years practising in the Cayman Islands, most notably as an active member of the Family Law Bar.

Allard is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and the Norman Manley Law School, and earned an MBA from the University of Liverpool. She served as a member of the FIFA Ethics Committee for four years from 2013-2017, and has served the community in numerous volunteer roles on various civic groups, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Legal Befrienders.

Robert Jones is a commercial litigator who has more than 20 years’ advocacy experience in the Cayman Islands. He earned his LLB (Hons) from the University of Hull, was admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales in 1990, and as an attorney in the Cayman Islands in 1998.

During his time in the Cayman Islands, Jones has appeared before the Grand Court and Court of Appeal, as well as appearing before the Immigration Appeals Tribunal, the Central Planning Authority and the Planning Appeals Tribunal. Since 2012, he has sat as chair of the Cayman Islands Labour Tribunal, and is currently a member of the chairmanship panel of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants.

David McGrath has more than 20 years of experience in the Cayman Islands advising clients on a host of legal matters. His practice areas have historically encompassed most aspects of domestic litigation, although over the last decade this has focussed primarily on ancillary relief proceedings in high net worth matrimonial finance, offshore trusts and private client work.

He earned his LLB in European Legal Studies, and was admitted to the bar in England and Wales in 1993, and the Cayman Islands in 1999. He was a founding partner of McGrathTonner (previously Samson & McGrath) in 2005.

McGrath regularly appears in the Grand Court and Court of Appeal.

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