Legal Aid under Review
There has, in recent weeks, been considerable discussion of how legal aid is administered, how large the budget should be, and who should hold that budget.
An effective legal aid system is fundamental to the administration of justice. Access to adequate legal representation and, if necessary, legal aid will be required by the Bill of Rights, which will come into effect in three years' time and is already required by the UK's international human rights obligations that apply to the Cayman Islands.
The system needs to be administered as cost-effectively as possible, and the government is entitled to consider how this can be achieved, as long as these human rights requirements are met. In doing so it is important to consult stakeholders.
The Governor is therefore pleased to announce that:
- At the initiative of the Premier, a committee is to be set up to examine the proposals for a new legal aid scheme. This will include representatives of the government, judiciary, legal profession, and the Governor's Office; and
- The government will, in the meantime, ensure that the current scheme administered by the Judicial Administration is adequately funded so that there is no disruption to the administration of justice through the courts. Additional funding is being urgently sought in accordance with the Public Management and Finance Law.