Legal heavyweights to sit on judicial committee

| 06/08/2010

(CNS): A number of leading members of the regional judiciary have been appointed to the Cayman Islands legal commission created under the new constitution. The governor announced the names of the people who have been appointed to the country’s first Judicial and Legal Services on Thursday. The new appointees will serve on this special commission under the Chairmanship of Dan Scott. The seven diverse individuals joining Scott, who was appointed last month, will be entrusted with appointing and removing senior members of the local judiciary as well as dealing with complaints regarding the delivery of justice in Cayman.

There must be two people on the commission who are not lawyers. Dara Flowers-Burke is the second non-legal member as provided for under section 105 (a) of the constitution who will join a commission of legal heavy weights from across the Caribbean.
Those include Sir John Chadwick, (above) currently the chair of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal Edward Zacca, President of the Bermuda Court of Appeal, Sir David Simmons, one of the region’s leading judicial figures who served as attorney general and chief justice of Barbados and Richard Ground, the Bermuda CJ and former Cayman Attorney General.
Richard Coles another former attorney general of Cayman and latterly chair of the new human rights commission and Charles Jennings president of the Cayman Islands Law Society and former Maples and Calder partner will make up the 6th and 7th members.
According to the constitution the committee the judicial and legal service commission has to be made up of a chair who cannot be a lawyer, the president of the court of appeal, a person holding local high judicial office currently or very recently, two people who have held high judicial office in the commonwealth but not in the Cayman Islands, and two attorneys qualified to practice in the Cayman Island one of which has experience in government and one in private practice.
Dara Flowers-Burke has worked at the Flowers Group of companies since 2004, where initially as the Marketing and Communications Manager, she led the strategic corporate rebrand of the Group. In 2006, she oversaw the organisational and infrastructure modernisation of the sixty year old company, earning her an appointment to the Board of Directors. Dara serves as a Director on the Cayman Turtle Farm Board as well as Coordinator of the ever popular Flowers Sea Swim.
 Sir John Chadwick was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Inner Temple (Bencher 1986, Treasurer 2004). In 1966 he was in private practice litigation and advisory work, principally in property, company insolvency, banking, insurance and matters including litigation in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Bermuda. From 1967-199l he was Standing Counsel to the Department of Trade and Industry; 1974-1980 Appointed Queen’s Counsel; 1980 Judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey; 1986-1993 Recorder of Crown Courts in England and Wales; 1989-1991 Judge of the High Court of England and Wales assigned to the Chancery Division; 1991-1997 Chancery Supervising Judge, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff; 1993-1997 Appointed to HM Privy Council; 1997 Judge of the Courts of Appeal of England and Wales; 1997-2007 Appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal of Dubai International Financial Centre; 2008 Appointed Lieutenant Bailiff (Judge) in Guernsey and Appointed President of the Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands.
Edward Zacca, JA, OJ was Chief Justice of the Jamaican Supreme Court from 1985 to 1996 and in accordance with the Constitution of Jamaica, the Chief Justice he served as Acting Governor General from March toAugust 1991. Edward Zacca has had a long association with the Cayman Islands beginning in 1967 when he presided in the Grand Court over one of the then rare murder trials. Prior to the establishment of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal in 1984 he was a member of the Jamaica Court Appeal which heard appeal cases from Cayman. He served as President of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal from 1984 to 2008 and also served on the Bahamas Court of Appeal from March 2000 to July 2001. He is currently President of the Bermuda Court of Appeal, a position he has occupied since 2004 having served as appeal judge since 1996 in that jurisdiction.
Sir David Anthony Simmons K.A., B.C.H., Q.C., LL.M. (Lond.). entered the Faculty of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1960 and graduated with an LL.B. degree in 1963. After additional reading he was awarded an LL.M. degree in 1965.  Sir David lectured in law in London until his return to Barbados in 1970. Between 1970 and 1974, he was a part-time lecturer in law at the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies. Sir David has had an outstanding career as a lawyer in Barbados and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1984. He served continuously for 25 years in the Parliament of Barbados from February 1976 to August 2001, on which date he retired from active politics. Twice he served as Attorney-General of Barbados; first, from 1985 to 1986, and, more recently, from September 1994 to August 2001. On many occasions during the latter period, Sir David acted as Prime Minister of Barbados. He assumed office as the 12th Chief Justice of Barbados on 1 January 2002. In 2003, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the U.W.I. and was also awarded the Honourary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) by the University of London – the first Caribbean person to be accorded that high distinction by that University. In 2006, Sir David was elected as an Honourary Bencher of the Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, the Inn of Court at which he qualified as a Barrister-at-Law. As Attorney-General, Sir David presided over many initiatives and esteemed conferences including being Chairman of the Preparatory Committee to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice (1999-2001); first Chairman of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (2003-2004). In 2001, for his contribution to public service, law and politics, he was awarded the Barbados Centennial Honour (B.C.H.), and Barbados’ highest national honour, Knight of St. Andrew (K.A.). Simmons also sat on the tribunal last year which presided over the Justice Levers case. He is currently Chairman of the Integrity Commission in Turks and Caicos and will be appointed member and Chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 coup attempt in Trinidad.
Richard Ground OBE QC was called to the Bar in Gray’s Inn, in 1975 and began his legal career in private practice at Brick Court, Middle Temple, where he specialized in media law from 1976 to 83. In 1983 he moved to the Cayman Islands as Senior Crown Counsel and was appointed Queens Counsel (Cayman Islands) in 1987. He held the position of Attorney General of the Cayman Islands from 1987 to 1992. In 1991 he was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 1991 for his services as Attorney General in Cayman. He was a Judge of the Supreme Court of Bermuda from 1992 to 1998 and Chief Justice of the Turks & Caicos Islands from 1998 to 2004. He has been Chief Justice of Bermuda since March 2004.
Richard Coles studied at the College of Law in London and is a Fellow of the Caribbean Law Institute. He is an experienced lawyer both in England and in the Cayman Islands, being a Solicitor admitted in England, a Cayman Islands Attorney-at-law and Notary Public. Prior to coming to the Cayman Islands he was the founding partner of a substantial firm of solicitors with offices in England. From 1992 to 1999 he was the Attorney General for the Cayman Islands, a Member of the Cabinet and Legislative Assembly. Mr. Coles is a member of the Law Society of England, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London. He also has the distinction of being a Freeman of the City of London. Since 1 December 2009, Mr. Coles has held the position of Chair of the Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission.
Charles Jennings was managing partner of Maples British Virgin Islands office in 2005 and its London office in 2006-7, returning to Cayman on being appointed joint worldwide managing partner in 2008. He practiced as a lawyer with Maples and Calder from 1986 until his retirement in 2009, having been made partner in 1992. He is the President of the Cayman Islands Law Society, a position he has held since 2001 (except for the two years he was in London), and is the Chair of the Government’s Financial Services Legislation Committee.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    These appointments are excellant.

    However, given the state of the economy, we should start to seriously think about keeping the costs down.

    Let’s start with those silly wigs. They were designed in the middle ages to keep the learned ears warm in a chilly climate. In Cayman the judges must sweat like pigs unless we pay astronomical AC bills and/or astronomical dry cleaning bills.

    I humbly suggest that we replace the wigs with genuine Caymanian thatch hats. They are much more practical in all ways.


  2. Anonymous says:

    It is good to see that former Attorney General Richard Ground QC has been placed on this body. Mr. Ground was an excellent Attorney General and if we had been smart he would probably have been our Chief Justice at some point as well but his were skills that Bermuda was quick to harness.

  3. Hallowe'en Jack says:

    Seriously what is Dara Flowers Burke’s qualification to be there?  XXXXXX

  4. The Magician says:

    Dara Flowers Burke? Are you kidding me???

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the Magician’s post about Mrs Flowers Burke is unfair. Of course she does not have mega legal qualifications (which I imagine is why she is there) but she is bright and can listen, assess and give her own views on things unemcumbered by the dust and moths from the legal textbooks which the others apart from the Chairman are surrounded by and informed by a knowledge of the concerns about the administration of justice which everyday local people such as herself have.

      I’m remembering how certain posters hammered the Chairman for accepting his appointment since he was a (horrors!) accountant. The posters didn’t bother to check rhe criteria for Chairman (under the Constitution) one of which is that he/she should not be a lawyer. Much easier to dump on Mr Scott, oneof our own, and a very successful and community minded Caymanian. Now let’s dump on Ms Flowers Burke too.

      • Anonymous says:

        From my experience, there is no doubt Dara is quite intelligent with a drive and abilities far beyond her obvious youth.  Even so, is she the best choice for this responsibility?  I don’t know.  I would only hope that she is able to do what the "mature" and "experienced" politicians of our day seem unable to do:  put aside partisan B.S. and make decisions based on what is best for the Cayman Islands. 

  5. Dennis says:

    I am very impressed with this group- I am especially pleased that Justice Zacca will be back in Cayman. He has done so much for Justice in the Cayman Islands and seems to have been forgotten. Thank you Governor.

  6. anonymous says:

    If we continue to elect Big Mac the imbalance will continue. and we will never get caught up.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Not a Caymanian in sight for miles 🙁

    • Anonymous says:

      Danny Scott and Dara Flowers.

    • anonymous says:


      While we’re at it. A question was raised in the Human Rights Symposium in 2001 regarding  some policy concerns at the Cayman Islands Law School. It was raised by a concerned citizen to the members of Parliament.


      Why are law  school students in the UK have it so much easier than Caymanian students. They are actually enjoying a required lower passing grade of achievement as opposed to our very own Cayman Islands Law school students required  to having an outrageously higher passing grade of achievement. It was deemed biased and somewhat prejudiced. I would like for the Minister of Education to come forward with an answer on this issue. We would like to know if this has been fixed or not.

      Are any of our Law school students still being pressed or burdened with having to produce higher passing grades in this UK territory than the students in the UK.

      If so then we have a problem where we are allowing ourselves to be discriminated against by the mother country and her colonial masers.

      Are any of our students falling through the cracks because of this policy?


      Its wrong to keep our law Students down. Its not fair.A bureaucratic subtil system to keep the people under control and subdued. Is that why our lawyers are divided?

      We have the Law Society and we have the Cayman Bar, give me a break!

      • Anonymous says:

        Been in the profession for more than 20 years and I never heard of this – please back up what you say with some authoritative information to show this is the case.

        • anonymous says:

          obviously you are an x-pat in the ;profession 20 years.

          Were you at the Human Rights symposium on 9/11/2001, you would have heard the question raised first hand!  the students were complaining and  the subject was addressed.

          Then you are not an informed lawyer in the profession as you claim to be !

          You’re probably a part of the problem !

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t think 16:02’s question was about the Human Rights Symposium. Rather, the person was asking you to provide proof that passing requirements are harder for Caymanians.

            If what you are saying is correct, surely that should be a source of pride? You are making even our trained professionals seem like a bunch of beggars. Since when did higher standards become something to cry foul about?

          • O'Really says:

            Let’s see, the students complained so they must have a legitimate concern. I don’t know, but I doubt that would hold up as evidence in a court of law.

            What would be considered as evidence is anything objective which applied to  both sets of students. I don’t know, maybe something like admission requirements. The CI Law School requires a minimum of 2 " A" level passes of grade C or higher. The Liverpool Law School entry requirement is 3 "A" level passes of AAB or AAA depending on subject taken.

            Oh the injustice.

            • Anonymous says:

              This is one time I’m agreeing with you O’Really. As a Caymanian lawyer of many years experience and trained in the UK I have to say that such a claim is ridiculous. Frankly, in the case of a number of CILS graduates I have come across I have asked myself whether they actually have a law degree. A 2:1 here is not the equivalent of a 2:1 from my old University Ican assure you.     

            • Legal Beagle says:

              I don’t think a 2:1 from Liverpool would get you an at most decent places in London.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fri 12:24: God knows what or who we Caymanians will find to blame when we are independent and we can’t kick our "mother country and their colonial masters" (or "masers" as you write) anymore. It seems like these oppressive devils in the UK are behind all our shortcomings (legal, constitutional, economic, educational, political, sociological) as a country and people, past and present.

        Roy will have written all his books by then but poor old Ezzard will have a terrible time searching around for more "furrin" scapegoats. Whatever will we do?

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps when a Caymanian member of the legal profession possessing similar extensive qualifications and experience comes along, then this would be possible, but right now, I’m not sure if there is one, let alone several right now.  Such qualifications and experience are vital in this kind of role.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I would not want economics to stand in the way of progress, if indeed this is progress, I just wondered at what costs are we acquiring all these heavy weights? 

      I somehow don’t think this is all free.  I wonder if the benefits are worth the expense at this economically troubled time — thought again perhaps the service is gratis, for the benefit of the people of the Cayman Islands?

      I certainly await the worthy impact that they will have.

      I see that the Commission’s role is the appointing and removal of judges.  I can see that it may be useful in helping to vet new judges, but I would assume that there are already in place the requisite steps for the removal of judges, that must continue by virtue of the constitution to remain the ultimate purview of the UK’s Privy Council.

      On the matter of ensuring justice is carried out in the Courts — the Courts already have a system of re-dress.  If persons appearing in courtsare unhappy with the way the process was carried out, there is a well-respected system of appeal to higher courts, taking cases all the way to the Privy Council. This is the convention observed in all democratic countries.

      However, it may be that there is some merit to this Commission and perhaps we will be hearing more. 

      I just hate the idea of dishing out some more money to foreign interests, and I hope the costs are not exorbitant.  But perhaps we will hear more of this in due course.


      • Anonymous says:

        The appeal system is not the answer in many cases. The levers/tribunal/privy case is proof of this point. Do u really believe that an individual appellant against Levers would have amounted to anything?  A biased or prejudiced magistrate and judge is a very difficult thing to proove.  And if they only excersise their nasty habits occsassionally or deceptively it is next to impossible to prove.  The only way to solve (better yet to prevent) this type of misbehavior is to put in place audio-visual recordings in the summary and grand courts.

        The judicial committee was an excellent inclusion in the new constitution. I also see the wisdom of including non judges/lawyers etc.

  8. Mike Hennessy says:

    For all the criticisms of the new Constitution, it looks like this is a very positive step.  The importance of an independent judiciary able to dispense justice without fear or favor cannot be overemphasized in a free society.  However, power left unchecked can lead to abuse.  As a Roman once asked, "who watches the watchers?"  Left unchecked the kind of power wielded by judges can all too easily lead to abuse.  The JSLC appears to be a thoughtful attempt to make sure that judges know they are not acting without oversight, while at the same not attempting to micromanage the way they conduct their business. Certainly, the Governor’s choices seem beyond reproach and the new body appears to have the potential to serve as a subtle, but effective balance to an independent judiciary. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is indeed a very distinguished group of people and it is encouraging to see that there is no representation from our own Judiciary on the Committee. This so often, here and elsewhere, leads to entities "monitoring" themselves. Think of various policing entities which always find the police did no wrong or the British Medical Association which was unable to find anything wrong with Dr Harold Shipman, until, that is, it became clear he had murdered over 150 of his elderly patients.Self monitoring just does not work though my bet will be our Judiciary does not agree with me or for that matter the composition of this committee.

    Well done Governor!

    • Anonymous says:

      I dont neccesarily subscribe to the kudos given in the previous message.  While respect is afforded to the Caymannians and the Judges that form part of the August body, we should recognize that it is yet again evident that we are outnumbered in every way when the quorum for this body is not majority Caymanian.  Say what you may say you are not going to find this imbalance in any other country but Cayman. 


      Have we forgotten that the JUdiciary is already imbalanced with 95% of immigrants?


      Food for thought!!



      • Anonymous says:

        Suggest three Caymanians who would meet the criteria required by the Constitution. Remember, check the criteria.

        • Anonymous says:

          How about the man who proposed this commitee be set up in the first place…MR. Peter Polack, but its funny how I see no mention of his name in these workings. Do you people think that the govenor or the Premier just devised this on their own accord…XXXXXX

          And lastly I would like to say that I dont ever leave comments on this site but i do enjoy the material on here an a little food for though.. If this was any other country in the world, people would have acted along time ago with marches an demonstrations, but in cayman we love to blog an call talk shows an vent. But does that resolve anything.NOOOO!

          We have become a weak nationality, like the man," who built his house upon the sand"


          The TRUTH

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not altogether certain a Caymanian with such judicial attributes, which would be crucial to these positions, exists.  Perhaps this could serve as an inspiration to budding Caymanian legal professionals so that in future, this would be possible?

        • Anonymous says:

          From the thumbs-down it seems like the truth hurts eh?  Caymanians instead of disliking the truth, take as an inspiration.  Life is what you make of it – work towards such goals as these ‘legal heavyweights’ have done and such positions will be yours too.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is what we Caymanians say all the time immigrants immigrants immigrants…..

        if it wasn’t for the immigrants Cayman Islands would still be in swamp and masquitoes, because we are not doing what we suppose to do.


        Good Job Mr. Governor