The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands has on 15 April 2020 released a series of Practice Directions aimed at ensuring continued access to justice during the COVID-19 pandemic. These follow a press release given by the Hon. Chief Justice on 28 March 2020, which we reported here, and provide further detail on how the Court will operate during this difficult period.
Existing restrictions on the use of video conference hearings have been lifted. In particular, restrictions limiting video conference hearings to hearings where the Judge is presiding from overseas, and to interlocutory, rather than final, hearings have been lifted.
The Court has also confirmed that the spring session of the Court of Appeal, due to take place in April and May, will be conducted by video conference with the Justices of Appeal joining from the UK. Hearings will be in open Court and deemed to be public hearings, but physical attendance will not be allowed and instead proceedings will be live streamed on the judicial administration website.
The circumstances in which applications may be determined “on the papers” have also been modified. This can now be done even without both parties’ consent, where it appears that substantial justice would be more undermined by delay.
Finally, protocols have also been put in place for the use of e-signatures by Judges and Court staff.
Harneys has already appeared in a number of video conference hearings since the pandemic began, and we remain grateful to the judiciary and the Court staff for the agility they have shown in allowing business to continue during this unprecedented time.