With a view to further promoting excellence and efficiency in the administration of justice for the people of the Cayman Islands, Chief Justice the Hon. Anthony Smellie, QC, today announced the formation of the Judicial Education Committee (the JEC), a part of a process to adopt a more formal framework for the training and continuing education of judges and magistrates.

With a view to further promoting excellence and efficiency in the administration of justice for the people of the Cayman Islands, Chief Justice the Hon. Anthony Smellie, QC, today announced the formation of the Judicial Education Committee (the JEC), a part of a process to adopt a more formal framework for the training and continuing education of judges and magistrates. The overall goal is to maintain professionalism of the highest calibre through an organized process of continuing training, development and education. The committee will create a learning environment that embraces both formal local and overseas opportunities for development as well as practical, on-the-job training.

The newly appointed JEC members are Justice Ingrid Mangatal (Chairperson), Chief Justice Smellie, Justice Dennis Morrison (Justice of the Court of Appeal), Justice Richard Williams, Chief Magistrate Nova Hall and Mr. Mitchell Davies, Director of the Truman Bodden Law School who will work in close collaboration with the new Court Administrator, Mrs. Suzanne Bothwell.

Chairperson Justice Mangatal said: “It is well recognized that continued training and learning are essential to enhancing the quality of professional services that can be provided by the Courts”.

Towards that goal, she said, the training envisaged will “encompass not only basic judicial tools and skills, but will also include developing and increasing expertise and knowledge in particular areas of law practice.” This was of particular importance, she said, in meeting and serving the current and growing needs of the public, especially court users.

The JEC will also support the Court Administrator in identifying areas for the continuing education and training of administrative staff and in involving the judiciary in the delivery of training where possible.

The JEC will also assume primary responsibility for two other areas of activity. The first will be the Judicial Administration’s Annual Guest Lecture series, offered for the last five years. Last year’s very informative lecture was delivered by Lord Mance, a Justice of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, on the topic of “Justiciability and Jurisdiction”

The second area of the JEC’s responsibility will be the organisation of a programme through which judges and magistrates will provide oversight and guidance to trainee lawyers. This is to be structured as a formal part of their Articles, the final stage of training leading to qualification to practise.

The Chief Justice said that the need for the continuing education of the judiciary and court staff had long been recognised. “Our Administration has striven to keep abreast of international standards and best practices within the limits of existing resources despite the daily demands upon judicial time,” he said, adding: “But the fast changing world in which we live and the ever evolving rules and protocols of practice require that we take a more forward-looking approach. I am therefore very pleased that the judiciary will now have the internal capacity to organize and arrange the delivery of continuing education on a more structured basis. (see official Press Release)