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Judicial and Legal Foundation Launched

Government 18 Oct, 2022 Follow News

Board members of the Cayman Islands Judicial and Legal Education Institute (CIJLEI) at the inaugural meeting earlier this month, with Mr. Robert Lindley, left, who undertook pro bono legal work to establish the Foundation. CIJLEI board members, second from left, are the Hon. Justice Margaret Ramsay-

Chief Justice Sir Anthony Smellie has announced the launch of the Cayman Islands Judicial and Legal Education Institute (CIJLEI), a Foundation, the objective of which is the continued promotion of excellence and efficiency in the administration and delivery of justice.

The CIJLEI broadens the scope of its predecessor, the Judicial Education Committee (the JEC), both in reach and funding, in its formal involvement of the legal fraternity as a founding partner.

Emphasising the need for continuing professional development for the judiciary, support staff, and the legal fraternity, Sir Anthony said that “the administration of justice involves ensuring proper outcomes which impact the lives, liberties, and properties of persons,” adding: “Those responsible therefore have an obligation to encourage the highest standards of excellence across the board. This is what has propelled the launch of the CIJLEI as a joint initiative.”

By combining resources, he said, greater efficiencies can be achieved in training and development across all sectors of the delivery of justice to the public at home and abroad.

The incoming Chief Justice, the Hon. Margaret Ramsay-Hale, who also attended the inaugural meeting, supports the initiative and is committed to its success.

The membership of the CIJLEI board includes the Chief Justice, Justice Ian Kawaley (who leads the programme from the Judiciary’s point of view), Chief Magistrate Valdis Foldats, President of the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA) Erik Bodden (who leads on behalf of the legal fraternity), and Court Administrator Suzanne Bothwell.

Sir Anthony said that the Foundation had evolved from a process of extensive consultation with CILPA over the last several years, discussions for which were led by the Legal Advisory Council (LAC). Members of the Council include the Chief Justice, chair; Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, KC; CILPA’s President and Council Member, Messrs. Erik Bodden and Richard Barton, respectively; and Director of the Truman Bodden Law School, Mr. Mitchell Davies, who serves as the secretary to LAC.

The LAC is charged with responsibility for legal training and the regulation of the Truman Bodden Law School under the Legal Advisory Council Act.

The newly inaugurated CIJLEI will be jointly funded by the respective training and education budgets of Judicial Administration and CILPA, and by such fees that may be generated by the delivery of programmes. An important aim is that any such fees will be greatly relieved by the result of the delivery of these programmes through CILJEI, the Chief Justice said.

“The concensus coming out of the consultative process is that the most cost-effective means of providing training and development programmes is through a single body that would effectively eliminate the duplication of efforts,” said Sir Anthony. 

This would enable, he said, efficiencies in the pooling of resources, joint creation of curricula, the identification of faculty, and scheduling of programmes.

As an example of the collaborative nature of initiatives he envisages, the Chief Justice referenced a November 2021 workshop organised by the JEC. That workshop was designed and conducted for Cayman’s Criminal Bar and members of the Judiciary by Justice Linda Dobbs, DBE, KC, a retired High Court Judge of England and Wales, and Justice Roger Chapple, a retired UK senior circuit judge. Dame Linda and Justice Chapple are recently retired from service on the Cayman’s Grand Court Judges panel. Notably, Dame Linda is currently the Director of the Judicial Institute for Africa (JIFA).

Both Dame Linda and Justice Chapple had volunteered their services for the 2021 workshop and have both committed to continuing support to CIJLEI.

In addition to Dame Linda and Justice Chapelle, several experienced legal and judicial professionals across the Commonwealth, including the Caribbean, have pledged their support, the Chief Justice said.

“There are all these wonderful resources that have already pledged support in assembling a core of faculty and administrators for the CIJLEI,” the Chief Justice said.

As an example of local goodwill already extended to the CIJLEI, the pro bono legal work for establishing the foundation was undertaken by Mr. Robert Lindley, of Conyers, Dill & Pearman, LLP.

In addition, CILPA’s President Erik Bodden, as a founder of CIJLEI, has been designated a Supervisor for the Foundation, along with the other founding member, Chief Justice Smellie.

“The intention is for the CIJLEI to run as a centralized platform for legal and judicial education in the Cayman Islands, covering a wide variety of programmes throughout the year, including, for example, advocacy workshops and the Judicial Clerkship Programme,” Mr. Bodden said.  “It is also hoped that, further down the line, the CIJLEI will play an essential role in the regulation and provision of the yet to be finalised continuing professional development and legal education requirements, anticipated to impact all Cayman attorneys, following the commencement of the Legal Services Act.”

The first initiative under CIJLEI is set for this November—a refresher workshop in mediation for the judiciary previously trained in Cayman by UK Mediation, pioneers in mediation training.

While previous mediation training had focused on family mediation, this November’s training will cover all civil matters.  Acting Grand Court Judge Alistair Walters is leading the staging of this workshop in collaboration with the rest of the judiciary and senior Court administration staff.


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