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Chief Justice addresses Privy Council

Local News 01 Dec, 2022 Follow News

Chief Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale addresses the CILPA gala

Lord Reed of Allermuir

Newly appointed Chief Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale and Robert Reed, Lord Reed of Allermuir, President of the UK-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, gave significant speeches at last week’s gala event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. 

Organised by the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA), on Friday, 18 November, representatives of the judicial, legal and government were in attendance, including Governor Martyn Roper, and the Premier and Deputy Premier.

The gala was in honour of the visiting Justices of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Ramsay-Hale said: “In the broadest sense, this visit will have profound two-way benefits - to the Justices, who will bring strengthened insights to Cayman Islands cases; and, importantly, to the people of these Islands, who now have a sense that we as a people are a known quantity to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and not just as an island state out there in the Commonwealth of Nations.”

She believes that “all of this will have the effect of strengthened faith among all who live here in the fairness of the JCPC’s decisions upon which lives and wellbeing depend.”

Ramsay-Hale added that the visit of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council comes at a moment in Cayman history which “we can say will help mark the judicial coming of age of the Cayman Islands. And I reference ‘coming of age’ in an historical sense, as the complete separation of powers for us here in the Cayman Islands is a relatively recent achievement.”

Tracing the history leading up to the important benchmark of the 2016 amendment to the Cayman Islands’ 2009 Constitution, the Chief Justice said: “It must be said that although we obtained our first written Constitutional Order in 1959, the final piece in the armoury of judicial independence was not secured in the Cayman Islands until the 2016 amendment to our 2009 Constitution.

“That amendment finally confirmed full security of tenure and disciplinary self-regulation in respect of matters which could not result in removal from office.”

She added that “it was only a mere six years ago, then, that we finally nailed down the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary in reality -- and not just on paper - and enshrined a recognisable constitutional guarantee of judicial independence at all levels.”

Ramsay-Hale, 61, made history by being the first female Chief Justice in the Cayman Islands when she officially took office a month ago. She also served as the first female Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Supreme Court.

Lord Reed said: “Our hearings have proceeded successfully. Our meetings with high school and university students have been enjoyed on both sides. We have had a successful meeting with court users. We have learned much about the Islands. The people of the Islands have also learned something about us, have discovered that there are human faces behind the name of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and have also learned, I hope, that we have a genuine commitment to the Islands.”

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