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Appeal court bench fills up as new judges sworn

| 13/07/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Acting Governor Franz Manderson (third left) administered the oaths of office formally appointing two new judges to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, Justices Sir Richard Field and Dennis Morrison (centre). Attending the ceremony (from left) were Justice Elliott Mottley and Lady Marion Field, and (far right) Court of Appeal Registrar Audrey Bodden and Chief Justice Anthony Smellie

(CNS): Two appeal court judges have been sworn in by Acting Governor Franz Manderson as the summer session of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal opened. The new appointees, Justices Sir Richard Field and Dennis Morrison, who are non-resident judges, have already begun hearing cases.

The two new members of the appeal bench will serve as and when required.  Governor Helen Kilpatrick confirmed the appointments in January on the recommendation of the judicial and legal services commission.

Welcoming the two new judges, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said, “Given their very varied and diverse experiences in the spheres of academia, practice and judging, we are assured that they will enhance the capacity of the Court of Appeal to deal with the many complex and challenging cases even while it sees to the proper development of the law.”

Justice Field has served for the last 12 years as a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division in the UK and for the past eight years as a law professor. Justice Morrison currently serves as an appeal judge in the Jamaican Court of Appeal, a position he has held since 2008. He retired earlier this year from the appeal court in Belize after 11 years. He practised at the Bar in Jamaica for more than 25 years, prior to which he taught full-time at the Norman Manley Law School.

Since his appointment in January 2002 to the High Court, Justice Field has heard many complex civil and criminal appeals including murders. Talking about his new appointment, he said, “No doubt I shall have things to learn, but I am looking forward to doing so” and contributing to the vibrancy of the law.

“I have a strong interest in the development of the law,” he continued, adding: “I know, too, that Cayman’s status as a major international legal centre gives rise to many interesting and complex commercial disputes.”

Justice Morrison has more than 25 years advocacy experience and as a judge has heard criminal and civil appeals from Jamaica’s Supreme Court and Resident Magistrates’ Courts. He said he has always been mindful of how the law impacts the lives of people who come before him, noting how the adjournments of hearings can add to the distress of those who appear before him. Indicating his belief in equality, he said, “You are rated in life by your own efforts, not by status; what is important is what you are able to deliver.”

Justice Morrison said his relationships with his peer judges and with the people who appear before him have equal importance.  “I try to relate to everyone the same way, with courtesy and with a willingness to understand their perspectives.”

Looking forward to sitting in Cayman’s court of appeal, he said: “It is good to always be trying to learn and understand people and how their legal systems operate – that tells you much about them.”

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