Law Society condemns Private Members Motion

The Cayman Islands Law Society has released a statement condemning the Private Members Motion recently filed by opposition MLAs Winston Connolly and Arden McLean, concerned that this latest move will deflect from the urgent matter of updating Cayman’s laws that govern how legal practitioners operate.

“We are aware of the recent Private Member’s motion by Mr. Arden McLean and Mr. Winston Conolly. We strongly object to the allegations of any breaches of the laws of the Cayman Islands and we are concerned that this motion is simply a means of diverting attention from the merits of the Legal Practitioners Bill,” the CILS statement said.

The Private Members Motion brought about last week by the two MLAs alleges that there have been possible breaches of the Penal Code, the current Legal Practitioner’s Law and the Immigration Law, by law firms engaging in overseas practice of Cayman Islands’ law.

At the heart of the issue the Motion states: “…it appears that there are a number of law firms in the Cayman Islands that are and have been for a number of years intentionally ignoring and deliberately circumventing Section 10 of the Legal Practitioners Law (2015 Revision) so as to allow a large number of persons who are not qualified Attorneys-at-Law to hold themselves out as such and to practice as qualified Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners in offices outside the jurisdiction, which offices are either owned and controlled by, or affiliated with, those Cayman law firms..”

In the Private Members Motion, the two MLAs call for the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions “to take all necessary actions and investigations in order to ascertain what the legal implications are with regard to these activities and business practices and, subject to what those investigations reveal, to take the appropriate actions against any and all offenders…”

One of the laws that the two MLAs state has been broken, The Legal Practitioners Law, is in the process of change, with the Legal Practitioners Bill waiting in the wings to be passed. This Bill has been the subject of contention in recent years, as lawmakers grapple with updating this outdated piece of legislation.

The CILS are concerned that the recent Motion will deter government from passing the Bill.

“The Bill brings the framework governing Cayman’s legal profession into the modern era and must be passed in order for the Cayman Islands to comply with current international best practice,” their statement read. “The Bill also lays a solid foundation of opportunity for current and future generations of Caymanians. It has the backing of the vast majority of the members of the Cayman Islands Law Society and the Caymanian Bar Association and we encourage all members of the Legislative Assembly to support the Bill,” they concluded.