Formal professional training established for judiciary

| 10/05/2016 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Judicial Education Committee (L-R) Justice Richard Williams; Mitchell Davies, Director of the Truman Bodden Law School; Justice Ingrid Mangatal (Chairperson); Chief Magistrate Nova Hall; and Chief Justice Anthony Smellie

(CNS): The judiciary is adopting a more formalised process of training for judges and magistrates with the creation of the Judicial Education Committee (JEC) to help maintain a forward-looking approach to the changing legal world. It comes against the backdrop of a change to legislation last week to move magistrates, in terms of their employment and retirement, from the civil service to the judiciary. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie announced the education plans on Friday, just days after lawmakers approved the Judges Emoluments and Allowances Bill, another step in securing judicial independence.

The JEC will promote “excellence and efficiency in the administration of justice”, the chief justice’s office said. The goal is to maintain professionalism of the “highest calibre through an organised process of continuing training, development and education”, a press release from the courts stated. It will create a learning environment that embraces both formal local and overseas opportunities for development as well as practical, on-the-job training.

“It is well-recognised that continued training and learning are essential to enhancing the quality of professional services that can be provided by the courts,” said Justice Ingrid Mangatal, who has been appointed chair of the committee. She added that the training would “encompass not only basic judicial tools and skills, but will also include developing and increasing expertise and knowledge in particular areas of law practice”.

The JEC will assume primary responsibility for the Judicial Administration’s Annual Guest Lecture series, offered for the last five years and the organisation of a programme through which judges and magistrates will provide oversight and guidance to trainee lawyers.

The chief justice said that the need for the continuing education of the judiciary and court staff had long been recognised.

“Our administration has striven to keep abreast of international standards and best practices within the limits of existing resources despite the daily demands upon judicial time,” he said. “But the fast changing world in which we live and the ever evolving rules and protocols of practice require that we take a more forward-looking approach. I am therefore very pleased that the judiciary will now have the internal capacity to organise and arrange the delivery of continuing education on a more structured basis.”

The newly appointed JEC members include Justice Dennis Morrison from the Court of Appeal, Justice Richard Williams, Chief Magistrate Nova Hall and Mitchell Davies, the director of the Truman Bodden Law School. Chairperson Justice Magnatal will work in close collaboration with the new court administrator, Suzanne Bothwell.


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