Dan Scott to chair special legal commission

| 03/07/2010

(CNS): The commission which will advise the governor on the country’s top judicial jobs will be chaired by Ernst & Young’s managing partner, Dan Scott. The Judicial and Legal Services Commission was created under the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009 to advise on the appointments of the chief justice, grand court judges, the court of appeal president and judges, the attorney general, and magistrates, the new post of director of public prosecutions and other legal offices in the public service. Scott was appointed by the governor in consultation with the premier and the leader of the opposition. Officials said the seven members of the commission will be named shortly.

 
The commission will also advise the governor on disciplinary matters relating to people working in these offices, should there be a need.
 
Dan Scott is the Regional Managing Partner and Asset Management Sector Leader for the Bahamas, Bermuda and Cayman Islands region of Ernst & Young’s Financial Services Office. He is also a member of the Ernst & Young Global Hedge Fund Steering Committee, which provides strategic direction to the global practice.
 
Scott has been with the company for more than 25 years; among his area of focus are audit and advisory services, including structuring and servicing complex global and offshore funds. 
 
He  received a B.S. in accounting from the University of Tampa and is a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Scott iscurrently a Board Member of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange and also a Member of the Cayman Islands National Security Council. He is a past President of the Cayman Islands Society of Professional
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  1. Anonymous says:

    I too am very disappointed with Mr. Scott.  I cannot understand why he would tarnish his reputation by getting involved with this questionable crowd.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have known Mr. Scott for years and I have no reason to question his integrity or professionalism.  However, what really shocks me is that he is actually getting this close to politics and has found himself so involved with the likes of the premier.  I must tell you Mr. Scott I am shocked at your actions.

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    Separation of powers = Democracy.

    The separation of the Legislative, the Judiciary, and the Executive is critical to any democratic society.  Unfortunately, Dan’s appointment is a political one and like other political appointees he is likely to be a puppet to the political will. (Remember Pastor Rose and Dan Duguay).  As a result this appointment will serve to undermine the foundation of democracy in the Cayman Islands by facilitating the manipulation of the judiciary by the politician. ie the Executive, which currently controls the Legislative will also control the Judiciary. Where are the check and balance? As an auditor, Dan should knows all about checks and balances. This is very dangerous indeed!!

    • Albert Venn Ebanks says:

      It is not as "critical" as you may think.  Separation was considered central to the French constitution after the revolution and adopted, like so many Frnech ideas, by the US at the time of independence.  But it has never been a central doctrine of British style constitutional governance, although it is true that the Labour government did take steps which are consistent with increasing the separation of powers in the UK system.

      Effective transparency and review are much more important than formal separation.

  4. Tim Ridley says:

    I agree that it is difficult to find qualified people without conflicts who are willing to serve. But it is not impossible. And the local pool of qualified persons is actually growing. And, of course, there is no reason why some of the members of the JLSC should not be from overseas, as is the case with the Monetary Authority Board (although the number is unfortunately reducing).

    A large part of the problem is that those with the power to make these appointments, in this case the Governor, neither seem to understand the principles involved nor to be prepared to reach out in the right direction.

    Conflicts of interest have traditionally been quietly ignored in Cayman. It is time that changed. And it would be good if the FCO and their man on the spot here, the Governor, were to show leadership on this. 

    • Anonymous says:

      We may be the only place in the world where the prosecution and the judges are not from the jursidiction. I hope this new Commission will make meaningful inroads into this dire unnecessary and unfortunate situation.

      This is one good provision in the new Constitution.

      • Legal Beagle says:

        The best Caymanian lawyers don’t touch Court work so could never be judges.  We must never let a passport be more important than quality of our judiciary or there will be significant losses for us all.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the positive comments about Mr Scott. Are the criticisms about his "shortcomings" (being an accountant!!) and so not suitable to chair this Commission not a bit premature, given that we do not yet know who the other members are? Perhaps they will have these qualities/qualifications that Mr Scott is deemed not to have. Perhaps they will come from overseas/ have no conflict of interest etc etc. The Chairman has to "chair", not do it all himself.

      And, by the way, did I not read somewhere that the Chairman could not be a lawyer?

  5. Tim Ridley says:

    Dan Scott is a fine professional of integrity, who can be expected to carry out his duties as Chairman of the JLSC in an exemplary manner.

    But perception is very important for this post. We should think laterally about the potential conflicts of interest. Ernst and Young Cayman Islands has been and inevitably will be involved in litigation before the courts of the Cayman Islands, as plaintiff, defendant and expert witness. A judge who has been recommended for appointment by the JLSC chaired by Mr Scott may have to consider carefully whether it is wise for him to hear any case where Mr Scott’s firm is involved.This is unfortunate. 

    This is regretably another example of not thinking through the full implications of what may at first glance seem to be a good appointment. An earlier one was the establishment of the Anti Corruption Commission chaired by the Police Commissioner and with the Complaints Commissioner and Auditor General as ex officio members. To be meaningful and independent, the ACC should not have any Commissioners (and with no disrespect to the current officeholders) who are potentially so obviously conflicted. 

    Credibility locally and internationally is vital for Cayman’s long term stability and success. Truly independent and robust checks and balances are critical to achieving this. It is a great pity that those here and in London who can make it happen seem frequently not to understand the point, let alone be willing to take appropriate action. 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is, Mr Ridley, it is very difficult in this small society to find people who are competent, willing and not conflicted when it comes to filling these positions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Difficult – maybe, but certainly not impossible.

        However when you add to the criteria you cite membership in the Premier’s circle then you rapidly enter the realm of the impossible.

        Dan is a very honourable and competent professional in my experience and in just about any other position I would applaud his appointment. However in this instance Tim’s points are well taken. This would seem to be another situation where things were not well thought through. 

    • vocal local says:

      I agree completely with Mr. Ridley here.

      Having known Dan for much of my life, i’m somewhat surprised that he has accepted this role. While it is no surprise that the Govt. has not thought this through (or more likely doesn’t care, given the Premiers rants about FOI and Human Rights) i am surprised that Dan seemingly has NOT!

  6. Looking into the fishbowl says:

    I am really not sure what an accountant can do when it comes to assessing the abilities of judges and attorneys.  It is about time that those who sit as judges in this jurisdiction go to the JSB training if they have never sat before.  Being a judge does not come naturally as a progression from being at the Bar.  Indeed many excellent lawyers make rubbish judges.  It is a question of training and continued training and assessment.  The Judges here get none of that.  There need to be proper guidelines, sentencing and otherwise to ensure uniformity of application of the laws and sentencing.    It will simply be the usual rubber stamping exercise.  Why for example are the AGs department free to just advertise some of their jobs in Jamaica.  Why are the judicial posts not advertised and have a proper selection procedure by an independent body?  Questions questions …

  7. Dred says:

    Ooookay.

    An accountant leading a legal commission. Is there something I am missing here? I mean I know he must have had encounters in the legal field throughout his illustrious career but is that enough to be chairman on a legal commission??

    This looks like a bit of a stretch if you ask me unless he has some legal background they are not speaking of.

  8. Marl Rhodes says:

    I heard the previous Governor vetoed any currently working attorneys sitting on this panel which seriously narrowed down who could sit on it (and its usefulness).  Probably explains why an accountant is sitting heading it up.

  9. Slowpoke says:

    Here we go again,

    Another politico appointment, with a BS in accounting, deciding who should administer justice in Cayman.

    This is not a question of his ability or intelligence, but what exactly has qualified him to make these kind of decisions?

    Maybe he would like to inform us commoners, as to what process he intends to use to to make an informed and objective recommendation.

    (another FOI request, that I probably will not be able to afford if MAC has his way.)