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Same-sex marriage ruling overturned

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie's previous ruling legalising same-sex marriage has been overturned by the Court of Appeal.

Round 2 in same-sex marriage fight

Government’s appeal against a Grand Court decision to legalise same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands will be heard next week.

Law firm Walkers found liable in client confidentiality case

In a years-long case, described by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie as “hostile” and “marred by allegations … of abuse”, Walkers law firm was found liable by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands for breaches of attorney-client confidentiality.

EDITORIAL – Toward a more efficient system of justice

When it comes to parties and banquets, it can be perfectly acceptable to arrive ‘fashionably late’. In other situations, there is no latitude for delays. This applies to spaceship launches, New Year’s countdowns – and courtroom procedures.

Appeals court puts same-sex marriage rights on hold

Same-sex couples will have to wait a little longer for the right to get married in the Cayman Islands.

Human Rights Commission: Government appeal ‘ill-considered’

The Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission has spoken out against government’s decision to appeal last week’s historic ruling legalising same-sex marriage, describing it as “ill-considered” and doomed to fail.

Governor endorses ‘equal rights’ for all

Governor Martyn Roper has expressed support for a historic court ruling legalising same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands, saying it provides “equal rights for everyone”.

EDITORIAL – Same-sex marriage ruling: An affirmation of civil rights

It would be a mistake to think Friday’s landmark decision legalising same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands will immediately settle this divisive societal issue. But it does represent the beginning of a shift towards greater tolerance.

Same-sex marriage legalised in Cayman

Same sex marriage is legal in the Cayman Islands after a landmark judgment in Grand Court this morning. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled that the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional and violated multiple rights.

Chief justice to decide on same-sex marriage

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie will decide within the next few months whether the Cayman Islands ban on same-sex marriage should be overturned.

Legal Aid director: More experienced attorneys needed

The Legal Aid system is short on attorneys but those on the roster are working to soldier through the docket, according to Stacy Parke, the director of Cayman’s Legal Aid department.

Statistics show variety of court cases

From almost 6,000 traffic tickets to over 300 divorce petitions, Cayman’s court system dealt with a myriad of cases in 2018.

Grand Court opens with pomp and ceremony

The formal opening of Grand Court for 2019 took place on Wednesday morning, with Chief Justice Anthony Smellie and other speakers addressing the challenges and opportunities involved in the administration of justice in the Cayman Islands.

Chief Justice presents optimistic opening address

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie sounded an optimistic note in his ceremonial address opening the Grand Court on Wednesday, when he acknowledged a serious backlog in criminal cases but also saw an avenue for alleviation in the prospect of a freshly renovated Scotiabank building.

Chief Justice to address legal fraternity at court opening

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie will make his annual address to the legal fraternity at the official opening of court Wednesday morning.

Court gives green light to same-sex marriage case

A same-sex couple contesting Cayman’s marriage laws have passed the first hurdle in their legal challenge.

Cayman’s longest court case: A ‘cauldron of fraud’

The longest and most expensive trial in Cayman Islands history concluded Thursday, as Chief Justice Anthony Smellie handed down an extensive judgment unraveling what he described as a “cauldron of fraud.”

Courts: Mangatal to stay on as judge

Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie indicated Tuesday that Justice Ingrid Mangatal would remain in her position as a Grand Court judge following her guilty plea in March to drunk driving and careless driving.

Cayman’s chief justice adds Bermuda to his duties

Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie has been appointed justice to Bermuda’s Court of Appeal.

Operation Tempura: Ex-governor suspended cops against advice

The two-year, $10 million-plus Cayman Islands corruption probe known as “Operation Tempura” first came to the attention of most local residents on March 27, 2008 – when three senior police officers, including the police commissioner, were suspended in connection with the investigation.

Chief Justice: Urgent need for more courtrooms

With 674 Summary Court cases carried over into this year from 2017, and a Grand Court civil case in which the parties paid to rent a hotel conference room to serve as a courtroom, the need for more court space is more urgent than ever, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said on Wednesday at the opening of the Grand Court for 2018.

Defense: Trespass at home of chief justice a random act

The trespass late last month onto the residential property of Chief Justice Anthony Smellie was a random act, with no knowledge on the part of the trespasser as to whose yard he had entered.

Man admits criminal trespass at chief justice’s home

The first criminal pleas in the new year were entered on Tuesday morning when Thadeus (Thad) Kaemeron Bodden pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal trespass, including one that involved entering the home of Chief Justice Anthony Smellie.

Court eases election disqualification rules

A Grand Court ruling issued this week will likely make it easier for political candidates who are born outside the Cayman Islands to stand for election, regardless of the number of days they have been absent from the jurisdiction before candidate nomination day.

First Legal Aid director appointed

The Judicial Administration on Thursday announced the appointment of Cayman’s first Legal Aid director, Stacy Parke.

Saudi fraud trial ends this week after a year in Cayman court

After more than a year of evidence, the biggest trial in Cayman Islands history, a multibillion-dollar fraud case investigating the collapse of a Saudi business empire, is expected to come to an end this week.
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Judicial clerkships for articled clerks

The Cayman Islands courts will begin offering a new judicial clerkship program for articled clerks with local law firms from next week.

EDITORIAL – Political campaigns enter the home stretch

In three short weeks, Cayman Islands voters will stream to the country’s polling stations for Cayman’s quadrennial exercise in democracy.

Offshore Alert: Chief Justice ‘needs to get act in order’ over copy ban

The owner of Offshore Alert, David Marchant, used his annual conference in Miami on Monday to criticize Cayman’s Chief Justice Anthony Smellie over a change in court policy that restricted the photocopying of public records.

Cayman court records dispute enters international spotlight

The domestic dispute over the Cayman Islands court system’s new restrictions on photocopying public records has ballooned into a potential international incident.

EDITORIAL – Reputational alert: Cayman’s court secrecy on international stage

Following the recent foolish, if not foolhardy, restrictions on access to local court records, a tidal wave of negative public relations is heading for the Cayman Islands. Our treasured financial services sector could get soaked.

Court disqualifies 2nd election candidate

Cayman Brac independent candidate Nickolas DaCosta is barred from standing in the May 24 general elections because he has U.S. citizenship, obtained through family ties rather than by birth, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled Wednesday.

EDITORIAL – How much has gov’t spent on the John Gray gym?

How much has the Cayman Islands government spent on the construction of the new John Gray High School gym?

‘Candidate X’ disqualified over criminal conviction

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled Tuesday that a candidate is excluded from running in the forthcoming general elections because of past criminal convictions, but barred the media from naming the individual.

EDITORIAL – Permanent residence: The Progressives’ explosive legacy

When the Progressives passed their Immigration Law in fall 2013, they handed the Cayman Islands a ticking time bomb of uncertainty and legal liability.

Chief Justice praises separation of powers

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie highlighted Cayman’s strides in separating government powers during a gala to honor the visiting chief justice of England and Wales.Roger John Laugharne Thomas, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, visited the Cayman Islands in early March.

Six Cayman attorneys named Queen’s Counsel

Six attorneys in the Cayman Islands have been appointed as Queen’s Counsel. Appointees include the first local criminal bar member, Benjamin Tonner, to be named to the position, according to a press release from the Cayman Islands Judicial Administration.

Chief justice: ‘Ritch Report’ must remain confidential

Efforts to produce a public copy of a $312,000 immigration consultancy report were halted this week by a decision from Cayman Chief Justice Anthony Smellie. The consultancy review examined various aspects of the Cayman Islands system of granting residency rights to non-Caymanians.

Official opening of Grand Court

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie inspects the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service guard of honor outside the courthouse Wednesday as part of the official Grand Court opening ceremony.

Legal heavyweights back controversial bill

Senior members of the legal profession urged the passage of the controversial Legal Practitioners Bill during the formal opening of court for 2017 on Wednesday.

Back to drawing board for new court plan

Three proposals for new facilities to meet the pressing demand for new court space in the Cayman Islands were dismissed as unaffordable, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie revealed Wednesday.

FOI Commissioner turns to court to obtain ‘Ritch Report’

The Cayman Islands Information Commissioner’s Office can now be added to the list of those taking legal action against government over various issues related to the granting of permanent resident status.

Court moves to resort, citing lack of space

A conference room at the Marriott Resort will serve as a courtroom for six days, starting Monday, Nov. 7. Justice Nicholas Segal is presiding. Yasmin Ebanks, listing officer of the Grand Court, confirmed that lack of space in the usual court facilities necessitated the use the conference room in the Seven Mile Beach hotel as a “special designated court.”

Cayman booming, but immigration issues unresolved, premier says

The Cayman Islands is “in a much better position” than the territory was four years ago, Premier Alden McLaughlin told a group of several hundred local businesspeople, with the development and tourism industry surging, unemployment down and a strong partnership between government and the private sector.

Hewitt bankruptcy hearing delayed till Oct. 3

Bankruptcy hearings against West Bay’s John Gordon Hewitt and wife Velma Powery-Hewitt were adjourned this week for the fifth time and rescheduled for Oct. 3. The ongoing case seeks reimbursement for nearly $140,000 in court costs and another nearly $77,000 in additional costs – mandated by the courts.

EDITORIAL – Absolute Zero: PR applications put in deep freeze

The Progressives government’s real immigration policy is to have zero immigration.

Several high-profile Cayman cases feature joint enterprise

Joint enterprise has been a feature of numerous high-profile cases in Cayman in recent years, including the murders of Estella Scott-Roberts, Frederic Bise and Marcus Duran, as well as in the New Year’s Day robbery of Diamonds International and a holdup at Blackbeard’s liquor store.

EDITORIAL – Cayman must move on its 650 stagnant PR applications

With none of the 650 permanent residence applications submitted since October 2013 having been dealth with, the lives of these long-term residents remain in abeyance, hostage to a system which, demonstrably, has failed them – and is failing our country.

Fundraising seeks to prevent Hewitt bankruptcy

Supporters of Gordon Hewitt and former West Bay political candidate Velma Powery-Hewitt last week launched a fundraising appeal to defray court costs of nearly $140,000, incurred in the couple’s 2013 challenge to candidate Tara Rivers’ election to Legislative Assembly.

EDITORIAL – Rivers versus the Hewitts: At what cost?

“[Tara Rivers] therefore prays that … on the hearing of this petition, the said John Gordon Hewitt may be adjudged bankrupt.” … Politics ain’t beanbag.

New courthouse closer to reality

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie announced on Wednesday the specific steps that have been taken to make a new courthouse a reality. He was speaking at the formal opening of Grand Court for 2016 after a ceremonial inspection of a police guard of honor outdoors.

Legislation contemplates ‘conditional fee’ lawsuits

Providing poorer Cayman Islands residents access to the courts and just compensation in civil litigation is listed as a major concern in the Law Reform Commission’s draft proposal to allow conditional fee or contingent fee lawsuits in the territory.

A month-by-month roundup of Cayman’s 2015 news stories

Top stories of 2015 in the Cayman Islands

Editorial year in review: Immigration and employment

A look back at editorials on immigration unemployment in 2015.

Court of Appeal president retires

Sir John Chadwick is retiring as president of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal after seven years.

Five foreign attorneys refused admission in AHAB litigation

Issues regarding the employment of Caymanian attorneys come before the Grand Court.

Senior judges convene in Cayman

Some of the Caribbean region’s most senior judges are in the Cayman Islands this week to discuss a draft law that governs the appointment, discipline and removal of judges.

PR application, appeal take eight years

A man whose application for permanent residence took more than eight years from the date it was filed to when it was rejected by an appeals body has sued the Cayman Islands government, seeking re-consideration of the case.

Veteran court officer retires

Members of the judiciary and court staff held a surprise farewell ceremony on Oct. 29 for Ermyn Berry, who spent the last 27 years at the Law Courts Building in downtown George Town.

New sentencing guidelines offer sliding-scale penalties

New criminal-sentencing guidelines – the first in a promised series – published Monday by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie detail a sliding scale of penalties for burglary and robbery, allowing judges to reduce custody in certain circumstances.

Cayman judge elected VP of international group

Cayman Islands Judge Richard Williams has been elected for the second time as vice president of the Caribbean Region of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association.

More human rights claims filed against immigration boards

Two Grand Court lawsuits filed this month against the Immigration Appeals Tribunal allege that decisions of the tribunal were contrary to human rights protections in the Cayman Islands Constitution Order (2009).

New system impacts court cases

A system of “case management” has been introduced in the Summary Court as a way to move criminal cases through the court process with reduced delays and improved efficiency.

Permanent residence grants: The number is still zero

More than 500 people have applied for permanent residence status under the new Cayman Islands Immigration Law in the past two years. This is how many people have been granted PR status under the new law: Zero.

No PR grants yet under new law

More than 500 non-Caymanians have applied for permanent resident status in the Cayman Islands over the past two years under the revised Immigration Law, but so far none have been awarded that status.

New case management form moves wounding case along

Bail has been continued for a man who pleaded not guilty in Summary Court on Tuesday to inflicting grievous bodily harm on a man by stabbing him with a knife in the early hours of Sept. 13 near the Globe Bar in George Town.

Government: ‘Further work’ needed on Immigration Law

The Cayman Islands government will be delving back into certain areas of the territory’s Immigration Law to ensure legal issues raised by the chief justice last month are addressed.

Laws without enforcement lead to injustice

For any perceived problem, government has at least one solution for it, on paper. Of course, there is a difference between paper solutions and real solutions.

Far-reaching effect of permanent residence ruling cited

A recent court decision in permanent residence case may be a game-changer, not only for immigration-related matters, but for many other areas in which appointed boards make rulings and hear appeals on a plethora of matters, from business licensing to planning issues.

Bush: Permanent residence system ‘not helping’ Caymanians or expatriates

Cayman’s immigration system is helping neither local workers nor the economy, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush said.

Premier: Government taking permanent resident ruling ‘seriously’

Cayman's premier says his government is taking legal concerns about the local immigration system "very seriously."

‘Sea-change’ in permanent residence process expected

The effect of a judgment issued by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie could have a "sea-change" effect on the way permanent residence applications are handled.

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