By Staff Writer
Congratulations are in order for former Premier Alden McLaughlin and four other prominent figures in Cayman’s legal fraternity who have been elevated to Queen’s Counsel(QC).
In addition to Mr McLaughlin, the other other ‘Silks’ as they are referred to in legal terminology are Reshma Sharma, Solicitor General and Chief Officer, Portfolio of Legal Affairs, Mac Webster Imrie, consultant at Maples and Calder, Rachael Reynolds, global senior partner with Ogier, and Colette Ann Wilkins, partner at Walkers.
The formal ceremony admitting the five new QCs to the Inner Bar of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands takes place this Friday, 3rd September at 2:30 pm.
It will be presided over by Hon. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, sitting with other judges of the Grand Court.
An official government announcement on Tuesday said the legal documents formalising the appointments were signed by HE Governor Martyn Roper on August 5th on the recommendation of the Honourable Chief Justice the Hon. Anthony Smellie.
Commenting on the new appointments, Chief Justice Smellie remarked that this comes at the end of an intensive process of consultation and vetting which started in January with input from himself and his colleagues along with the office of the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
He also said that these latest appointments, coming more than four years since the last inductions in February 2017, were made having regard to the needs of the jurisdiction, as prior holders re-locate, retire, or channel their service into the local judiciary.
“QCs are public officers in the sense that they are available to serve wherever there is a need for the special ability and seniority implied in their appointments,” the Chief Justice said, adding: “These appointments are a responsibility that my fellow judges and I take very seriously.”
Justice Smellie also explained that in managing the system of appointing QCs, they have been “have been able to maintain a stable pool of QCs relative to the size of the profession and local population.”
said that achieving this balance was in the public’s interest as it ensured that “homegrown” talent is recognized and made available to meet local needs.
While the guidelines for local QC appointments closely mirror those followed in the UK, the Chief Justice pointed out that in Cayman it’s more stringent in that eligibility is based on years of experience. UK candidates must have a minimum of 10 years’ experience since admission to the bar. This compares to 15 years for Cayman and other Overseas Territories.
The rules also specify that at any given time the number of new appointees should be restricted to approximately 10% of the members of the practising Bar. The Chief Justice confirmed that he and his colleagues are committed to the ongoing review of the needs of the jurisdiction for the making of further timely recommendations for appointment.