(CMR) The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) will sit in the Cayman Islands on 15 – 18 November 2022. This will be the first time the JCPC will have sat in an Overseas Territory (OT) of the United Kingdom.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for many Commonwealth countries, as well as the United Kingdom's overseas territories, crown dependencies, and military sovereign base areas. This includes the Cayman Islands.
The UK Supreme Court Justices are the permanent judges of the JCPC, which can include other senior judges who are Privy Counsellors. The judges who will sit in the Cayman Islands this November are all Justices of the UK Supreme Court. The UK Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for civil cases in the UK and is the final court of appeal for criminal cases from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It hears appeals of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.
As the final appellate court for the Cayman Islands, the JCPC, normally based in the UK, is, therefore, “as much our Court as it is (in the form of the Supreme Court) for the populations of the United Kingdom,” explained the Chief Justice, the Hon. Sir Anthony Smellie.
“The visit, therefore, signifies that the JCPC is an integral part of the Cayman Islands Justice System when it provides a final opportunity for judicial resolution of cases that may be appealed to it from the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal. So, the visit symbolizes the connectivity and links among all our courts right up to the final appellate court for the Cayman Islands—the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,” Sir Anthony continued.
Premier Hon. Wayne Panton noted that the JCPC comprises judges of the highest international reputations and standards and is the pinnacle of jurisprudence.
“The Cayman Islands benefits tremendously from having the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as our highest court. Across all areas of jurisprudence, including international financial services matters, it underpins confidence in our good governance. We eagerly look forward to welcoming the Privy Council on their first-ever visit and sitting in the Cayman Islands,” he said.
Cases to be live streamed
Lord Reed said, “I am delighted that the Privy Council will be sitting in the Cayman Islands in November. As the final court of appeal for the Cayman Islands, we hear cases of profound importance to everyone across the Island.
“My colleagues and I strongly believe that the experience of attending a court hearing in person should not be limited to those able to get to London. I am very pleased that people in the Cayman Islands will have the opportunity to see the Court in operation locally, and I look forward to meeting members of the legal profession and law students.”
Lord Reed added: “The JCPC is committed to being one of the most open and accessible courts in the world and, like all our hearings, the cases we hear in the Cayman Islands will be live-streamed for everyone who cannot get to see us in person.”
The link to the live stream will be released along with further details on the opening of the Privy Council Court and other aspects of the visit.
Governor Martyn Roper, OBE, said of the visit, “I am delighted that the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council will visit the Cayman Islands, and I look forward to welcoming them to our shores.”
The Governor said that the visit would “enhance public understanding of our legal system and the essential role played by the Privy Council as Cayman's final Court of Appeal. Our highly respected independent judicial system is a cornerstone of the success of the Cayman Islands. The Privy Council visit underlines the confidence we can all have in our judicial system.”
The JCPC was invited to sit in the Cayman Islands by the Cayman Islands Judiciary and the Cayman Islands Government. As part of the opening ceremonies for the Court on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, the Justices will inspect a Royal Cayman Islands Police (RCIPS) Guard of Honour, to be followed by a reception.
After the reception, the formal opening of the Court will take place in the second-floor courtroom of Building C of the Cayman Islands Halls of Justice (at the Albert Panton Street location of the former Bank of Nova Scotia Building), after which hearings will commence.
Justices will be involved with education programs during the week, taking part in an ‘Ask a Justice' question-and-answer session and visiting the Island's only law school. ‘Ask a Justice' will give students the opportunity to interact directly with the judges, asking questions about the work of the Privy Council and the experience of being a judge. The Justices will also be meeting members of the Cayman Islands' legal profession during their visit.
The President of the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA), Mr. Erik Bodden, said, “The visit is also an opportunity for the Cayman Islands legal fraternity to see firsthand our final appellate court at work.” Encouraging the legal fraternity to take advantage of the opportunity, Mr. Bodden said: “We suggest as many attorneys as possible avail themselves of the opportunity to attend the Privy Council sittings in person while the Court is in Cayman in November.”
Cayman media will be invited to cover the hearings, for which the normal protocols will apply.