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New Judges Named

(From L) Justice Hon. Charles Quin, Mr. Andrew Jones QC, and His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Stuart Jack CVO.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Stuart Jack, CVO, on 24 November swore in two new judges for the Financial Services Division (FSD) of the Grand Court, which commenced operations this month.

The two judges are Acting Justice Angus Foster, who has been serving in the Grand Court as an acting judge over the past two years and a former law partner of Walkers, and Mr. Andrew Jones QC, formerly of Maples and Calder, and who has had a special association with the Court in his capacity as a long-standing member of the Grand Court Rules Committee.

Along with the Hon. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, Justice Alexander Henderson and Justice Charles Quin, the new judges will bring to five the number of judges available for dealing with cases on the FSD.

"There are increasing numbers of financial cases, and their continued speedy disposal is important to the Islands' sustained competitiveness in international financial services," the Governor said. "I am therefore pleased that the court has now formalised its work in the financial services area with the new division and the appointment of additional judges who have considerable expertise in this area."

Noting, however, that the new judges' sitting fees would be less than the hearing fee paid by litigants, the Governor said: "The new judges obviously see this as a chance to serve the Cayman Islands and its people. I welcome and thank them for joining our other judges in carrying out this important service."

The two legal and judicial professionals, who may also serve in other divisions of the Courts' work as required, have been recruited on the basis that neither salaries nor pensions will be offered. Complementing the current corps of Grand Court judges, who will continue to preside over international financial matters as well as domestic matters, the new judges will be remunerated on a per diem basis.

These first appointments to the new Financial Services Division had to be made before the Judicial and Legal Services Commission could be established under the new Constitution. In the spirit of the new Commission, the Governor set up a panel to advise him on who should be appointed.

This was chaired by Mr. Brian Bothwell JP, prominent retired professional from the local financial industry; the other members were retired Chief Magistrate of the Cayman Islands and former Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Justice the Hon. Kipling Douglas, and Mr. Andrew Moon, retired partner of Maples and Calder. The committee's selection followed local and overseas advertisements and consultation with Chief Justice the Hon. Anthony Smellie.

The Financial Services Division of the court began operations on 2 November, following the implementation of the relevant Grand Court Rules on 1 November.

The division's introduction follows years of planning and infrastructural development by the Judicial Administration. This includes redeployment of personnel to facilitate dedicated administrative and registry staffing, and the development of courtrooms wired for technology to assure speedy resolution of trials, an outcome critically important to the financial industry's success. Another important outcome will be the consequent reduction in costs to litigants and to the Government.

The court's financial service's case load has an intake of about 200 per year, with an average disposal rate of within twelve months. The standard period of resolution for complex stages of these cases is six months. "This is a highly competitive rate of disposal," said the Chief Justice, "and it is with the objective in mind of ensuring, or even improving on, this rate of disposal, while maintaining the high calibre of decisions for which our courts are known, that we have established the Financial Services Division. The dedication of other divisions will also, of course, enable us to ensure that the domestic business of the court continues to be dealt with in the timely and efficient manner that it also deserves."

For further information contact: Bina Mani