(CMR) Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale has been appointed Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands effective 26th October 2022. Justice Ramsay-Hale was appointed by Governor Martyn Roper following a recruitment exercise by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC).
As the Head of the Judiciary, the Chief Justice has responsibility for the efficient administration of justice in the Cayman Islands.
His Excellency said: “I am delighted to appoint Justice Ramsay-Hale to this very important role within the Judiciary. Justice Ramsay-Hale, who is Caymanian, brings extensive legal knowledge and significant leadership and management experience, including as a former Chief Justice in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Justice Ramsay-Hale impressed the JLSC with her vision, passion, and commitment to strengthening our judicial system and rule of law in line with the Cayman Constitution.”
Mr. Roper said Justice Ramsay-Hale will build on the successful legacy of outgoing Chief Justice, Sir Anthony Smellie, KCMG, KC, who has provided strong leadership and services to law and justice in the Cayman Islands, and the wider Caribbean over the last 30 years as a judge, with nearly 25 years as Chief Justice.
“I am grateful to Sir Anthony for his long years of dedicated service, which is greatly appreciated by the community. In recognition of his outstanding contribution, Sir Anthony was awarded a Knighthood in Her Late Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours,” he stated.
“It is a signal of strong confidence in the Judiciary in the Cayman Islands that the JLSC recommended an appointment from the bench in Cayman. A high quality and fully independent judiciary is one of major strengths of our jurisdiction supporting the rule of law and our prosperity,” Mr. Roper continued.
Justice Ramsay-Hale was appointed a judge in the Grand Court in 2020 after serving as Chief Justice in Turks and Caicos for a number of years.
Chief Justice Ramsay-Hale also served as a Puisne Judge in the Turks and Caicos Islands from 2011-2014. Her prior judicial experience includes sitting in the Cayman Islands as Chief Magistrate for three years and a Magistrate for ten years. In addition, she sat in Jamaica as a Resident Magistrate and a Family Court Judge, both for two years. Chief Justice Ramsay-Hale served ad hoc as a Judge in the Cayman Islands in 2006 and was appointed to the Cayman Islands Panel of Acting Grand Court Judges in 2013.
Prior to beginning her judicial career, Chief Justice Ramsay-Hale worked at the private Bar before being appointed Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Jamaica in 1994. She is a Certified Mediator and was called to the Bar in 1991.