JPs to get 4 hours training

| 25/11/2013

(CNS): Government has revealed that all justices of the peace, old and new, will be required to undertake a more extensive and modern course of training and will be facing more stringent regulations. However, according to a statement from the deputy governor's office, the JPs will only be required to undertake the training every three years and it will consist of just two modules totalling four hours. Officials said that the new criteria covering the role of JPs establishes a code of conduct, allows for complaints about those that fall short and greater background checks. According to the statement, the training for existing JPs will begin in January and all JPs that are still practicing are expected to go through the short programme this year, while new JPs will not be appointed until they have completed the new training.

The announcement comes following shocking revelations in Grand Court earlier this year that the police had used a JP to sign a search warrant in a criminal case when he did not understand the crime or the law relating to it. The same JP admitted that in more than two decades he had never refused to sign a warrant in any circumstances. In the case in question, which related to a local activist Sandra Catron, who was accused of misuse of a telecommunications network, the JP said he had seen no evidence, had been given no information, had sworn no oath and had no clue about the crime.

The case caused considerable concern and led to the police commissioner admitting that what had happened was a result of both “slack procedure and slack practice” and indicated that JPs without legal training would no longer be used by officers when they were seeking out of hours warrants. 
In Cayman many people are appointed as JPs as a status symbol, but as the deputy governor's office acknowledged in its statement about the new regulations, the position carries with it serious duties and responsibilities in helping to preserve the rule of law and to meet a public need.
in the statement, the government said that the new regulations set out a criteria for nominees that they have no criminal record, have a sufficient level of literacy in English to be able to deal competently with a wide range of official documents and not be an un-discharged bankrupt or a serving policeman or public officer that has the power of arrest, a prison officer, or a retired policeman of less than five years.
"All nominees will be subject to a due diligence exercise and background check including a police report," the official statement said. "After consultation with thechief justice and the JP Association and satisfactory completion of a training course, the governor will decide on the appointment. The justice of the pPeace will then be appointed, sworn in and the appointment gazetted."
A code of conduct calls for  integrity, treating all persons seeking JP services with courtesy, dignity and respect, keeping safe and not revealing information that is private, confidential or commercially sensitive, for JPs to remain independent and impartial and the avoidance of the conflict of interest.
"JPs must not use the title of JP to advance or appear to advance their own business, commercial or personal interests," the official statement warns. "The regulations also require JPs to keep a written record of all signatures witnessed, land transfers witnessed and warrants issued and all occasions when JP services are refused, giving reasons on the prescribed form."
A new procedure is also now in place for making a complaint about the conduct of a justice of the peace.
Government officials said that JPs had been trained in the past but the new rules call for a more extensive training programme within the coming year and updated training every three years. Training will start in the New Year every Wednesday at the Seaman’s Hall in Prospect. It will consist of two modules totaling four hours of tuition and will be conducted by Acting Magistrate Grace Donalds and attorney Clyte Linwood.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    4 hours! Wow! That'll solve everything. Can they all count to 4?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another imporvement to our laws because of an outspoken Caymanian woman. 

    Thanks again Sandra Catron, for basically being the impetus behind this change, hoping for even more scrutiny and improvement to the appointment of JPs, and congratulate you when I see you in person.




  3. Anonymous says:

    In the UK a JP, or magistrate, needs 18 hours or three working days training. They also, because they have no formal legal training, only work under the guidance of a legally trained Justices' Clerk. 

    Bottom line here is that you can't simply turn a member of the public into a member of the judicary overnight and trying to do it is dumb.   


  4. Anonymous says:

    They need 4yrs after all these law suites they caused these islands (operation tempura) & others!!! Wp

  5. Hear, hear - to be fair says:

    JPs need to be re-thought.  Instead of political cronies we need to assign this role to upstadning community members.  I can think of some…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Four hours of training is not a lot for such an important position.


    Is there an exam that must be passed. If so, will McKeeva take it?

    • Anonymous says:

      4 hours? is this so no expat can get the job as all Caymanians can qualify? Smart move when it comes to justice…not…

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to do a minimum of 12 hours CPD per year to keep my qualification.  Why don't they?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Four hours doesn't seem like a lot, but then again it's far more time than the editor of the Compass spent researching the Conservation Bill.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Will be required to undertaken an intensive course will they? Tell me, are you going back to school for a day too? 

  9. Sumbodi hep mi says:

    FOUR HOURS? Darn! I thought it said FOUR DAYS. Guess I was being a bit optomistic.

  10. Grumby Cat says:

    Can I haz ez warrants??