How do I complain about a sitting magistrate? I had a experience lately that left me extremely concerned about the state of affairs on the bench and the utter lack of professionalism of a particular magistrate in exercising their legal remit.
It was so obvious based on the tone of voice and demeanor that the magistrate had a issue with one of the parties involved. How can this behavior be reported?
I understand there have been numerous complaints about the same person over the years and the judiciary has not acted – does that mean that they have carte blanche to do as they wish?
Thankfully I have witnesses who were in attendance. Why are court proceedings not recorded which would add another level of accountability and at the very minimum transparency and evidence should it be needed?
Note: Some details of this question were removed to protect the identification of the sitting magistrate.
It's rather sad that anyone should be subjected to unprofessionalism when dealing with the courts. Magistrates judges are in fact governed by a written Code of Conduct.
The correct complaint mechanism is to contact the Judicial and Legal Services Commission. Their website and contact details can be found here.
Commission members can be found here
According to their website:
The Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) is one of the many newly established bodies under the 2009 Constitution, which aims to support democracy by creating openness and transparency in modern governance.
In accordance with Section 106 of the Cayman Islands Constitution (Amendment) Order 2016, the JLSC has the following functions:
106.-(1) Power to make appointments to the offices to which this section applies, persons holding or acting in such offices, shall vest in the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; but the Governor, acting in his or her discretion, may act otherwise than in accordance with that advice if he or she determines that compliance with that advice would prejudice Her Majesty’s service.
(1A) Power to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in the offices of the Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, or such other offices prescribed by Law shall vest in the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; but the Governor, acting in his or her discretion, may act otherwise than in accordance with that advice if he or she determines that compliance with that advice would prejudice Her Majesty’s service.
(1B) Power to exercise disciplinary control over any person holding or acting in the office of-
magistrate or judge of the Grand Court, other than the Chief Justice, shall vest in the Chief Justice; and
judge of the Court of Appeal, other than the President, shall vest in the President of the Court of Appeal.
CMR would suggest that anyone who has a valid complaint report it via this process. Apparently, if complaints do not go through the correct venue they will be simply added to the marl road stories about the person but nothing actually done.
The Code of Conduct actually requires the judge to “conduct himself or herself with courtesy to all, and must require similar courtesy of those appearing in court.” Based on some of the details you provided it would appear on the face of it that this was not done.
If you have witnesses that are willing to provide corroborating statements that would certainly be useful for a fair and proper investigation to be carried out.
Whilst we are aware of who you are referring to in your complaint we cannot name the person but we can confirm that we have heard numerous other complaints of varying nature about the same person. This may lead one to conclude that at the very minimum there should be a proper investigation into the behavior of the individual.
Not everyone has the necessary skill set required to be a magistrate albeit they may be well versed in the law and have the requisite legal knowledge. If anyone else has a complaint about a member of the judiciary we would suggest they likewise contact the commission with details. A stronger case can be build of an ongoing issue when more than one persons shares their stories.
The matter of recording court proceedings is an excellent one and we will reach out to the judiciary to see if there are any plans to introduce this.