Court space problems see lawyers evicted

| 22/01/2013

Barrister-wigs-006.jpg(CNS): Local attorneys appearing in the Grand Court at the main courthouse this week will be looking for somewhere to dress in their courtroom garb as their robing room has been annexed by the court for use by jurors. With space increasingly tight in the courthouse and no money to begin the long shelved new court building project, things are likely to get worse over the coming months as the case load for the courts grows. So far, the chief justice’s pleas for the project to start appear to have fallen on deaf government ears and the potential site of naked lawyers adorning themselves in the public corridors may be the least of the local criminal justice system’s woes.

As noted by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie last week at the opening of the Grand Court, with the implementation of the Bill of Rights, “justice delayed is justice denied”. With more than a 300 day average wait for trial, defendants, especially those in custody, are increasingly likely to argue that the time-line does indeed constitute a breach of their human rights.

The current courthouse was built in the 1970s at a time when criminal cases were few and far between and the offshore sector was a long wayfrom generating the kind of work it now desperately depends upon the court system for.

The plans for a new courthouse were shelved more than four years ago in the face of the financial crisis and the collapse of government revenue. Since then, year after year the case loads in the financial, civil, family, drug and criminal courts have all increased and space, especially for trials requiring secure facilities, has become a premium.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is interesting. As an attorney who practised for several years in cayman I notice the courts service have found sufficient funds to convert very salubrious surroundings in Kirk house to house the new financial services division court – which is mostly empty and is not used for the riff raff of the criminal courts when actually the majority of the court use if for criminal cases. However those who use the courts daily (the criminal legal aid practitioners) are being ousted from the only facility they have to sit, prepare their cases, discuss matters, and generally have any private space during the long and frequent visits they have to the criminal courts even though they have managed to fund the space for the FSD, Just shows where the priorities are.

  2. Tiny Briefs says:

    The main function of the robing room is not about getting dressed.  It isa place where the advocates can discuss practical matters both in respect of the conduct of hearings and their cases as a whole.  The corridor outside Court does not do the function nearly as well.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Much prefer Americocentric to Anglocentric thanks.   @CNS nice one re naked lawyers. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    The court system needs an overhaul, you shouldn’t be in court for s seat belt offence, just let them pay the fee etc!


  5. Anonymous says:

    What has happened to all the space in the new glass houe that was supposed to be occupuied by CIMA? Is there not other empty space in that edifice that could also be uses as a court if even on a temporary basis?

    • Anonymous says:

      And check out the empty space at the planning department. Apparently the humongous space were built  to continue to give the BCU too much much power which stiffles  development. and people's  lives.

      Unnecessarly slow decisions.

      Poorly performed authority.

      We need a move to bypass he poorly -performeing authorities.

      The major inhibitor to growth is the planning system and local authorities generally.

      The solution is;

       Decisive actions to put the country"s economy back on a stable footing and restore growth.

      Boost Cayman's infrastructure,

      Get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy, and ensure planning system operastes effectively.





  6. St Peter says:

    Just think lawyers…

    Then think undressed lawyers…

    Be right back Im gonna throw up…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why don't we have some of them go on trial on Cayman 27 Court TV? I wouldn't mind seeing Big Mac go on trial before visiting Judge Judy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    My god is there no other buildings in Georgetown that can be rented for more court space? Really ?

    • Ya mon says:

      Nope – with the booming economy that Herr Diktater left for us, there's no room at the Inn.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but Guyana is really hard to get to and it would be expensive and impractical to have part of our justice system based there.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Third world all the way.

  10. Archie Tect says:

    It would have helped if those old plans had not used American courtrooms as the model since they have different needs than Cayman does.  It was a great example of the excessive Americo-centric mentality which is prevalent in the jurisdiction.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can conduct a trial in a schoolroom.  The lawyers can dress up in their office before they go to court.

      • Anonymous says:

        We could have trials by ordeal… maybe:

        1. survive a debate on evolution with Juju with rationality intact.

        2. spend a day with the (ex-)Diktater and not book a trip at someone else's expense.

        3. attend a Cayman political function and write a coherent summary of the positions taken by the participants.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you expected to come to this part of the world, and not be influenced by America?

      America was a British colony too, thats why the right to bear arms are so entrenched in their constitution when they got rid of the RedCoats.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We are all being forced to make do with what we have. The govt coffers are empty so a new courthouse is not an option.

    Why not simply resolve this via better scheduling?

    In many jurisdictions court matters are scheduled later in the day; particularly for lesser offenses related to traffic, disorderly conduct etc. I once had to appear for a traffic ticket at 7:00pm in another jurisdiction where I lived which was actually much more convenient for me since I didn't have to take the time away from my job.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 13:43. Night court is a great option to ease the overcrowding. Guess the court staff and lawyers and judges can’t function during evening hours. Failing that, there is a lot of empty space in town; they could rent a room to use as a court room

    • Anonymous says:

      If you want to me to go to Court at 7pm you had better be willing to pay me double my hourly rates.

      • Anonymous says:

        Double your fine you say?  OK, that will help pay for the night court judge.

    • Diogenes says:

      No money for overtime for court staff either, and no spare judges to handle the additional court hours.  Basically, not enough cash or investment in the judicial process.  

  12. Frank says:

    Another reason to decriminalize marijuana. Most of the people in court are probably there for being caught with $5 worth of ganja. Implement fines instead. Saves government time and jail fees aswell as making government money from the fines themselves. Its not rocket science.

  13. Anonymous says:

     So we need to build them a new courthouse so the lawyers can play dress-up?

    • Anonymous says:

      It would be a good idea if some of the major law firms that make all the money donate to government a portion of their funds to keep their society happy – and stop bickering when government does not have any funds at this time.    There are a few caymanian lawyers that earn these rights so let's get in the spirit of helping the Cayman Islands Government.