Cayman Islands: The Legislative Process In The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands' position as a top international financial centre is facilitated not only by its income tax-free status, but also by the Islands' history of political and economic stability, responsible and practical levels of regulation, and a highly competent workforce of professionals, judiciary and legislators. As an English-speaking British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands maintains a strong connection with the United Kingdom (UK) from which it inherits much of its legislative system and judicial framework.


The Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly is a unicameral legislature comprising 18 elected members and two ex officio members pursuant to the Cayman Islands Constitution of 2009. The ex officio members are the Deputy Governor (the Member Responsible for the Civil Service) and the Attorney General (the Member Responsible for Legal Affairs). The passing of legislation, similarly to the UK, requires three readings of the draft bill in the Legislative Assembly followed by a majority vote of the legislature. Draft bills can be presented by government motion or private member's motion. Bills, once passed by the Legislative Assembly, require royal assent before becoming effective. In practice, royal assent is given by the Governor, who also has power under the Constitution to withhold royal assent in certain circumstances.

In order to ensure the most appropriate and effective legislation, the relevant Cayman Islands private sectors are regularly consulted regarding draft bills before they are laid before the Legislative Assembly. The Cayman Islands financial industry, including the local law and accounting firms, plays an active role in contributing to the terms of draft laws that govern the sector. The Mutual Funds Law, the Exempted Limited Partnership Law and the Trusts Law are all industry-specific legislation that have had significant input from the relevant sectors, including by way of industry consultations and private sector advisory committees.

The Cayman Islands government has illustrated its responsiveness to the industry through the passing of legislation intended to provide mechanisms for the creation of alternative corporate structures such as Segregated Portfolio Companies, STAR Trusts (through the alternative regime for the creation of special trusts), Exempted Limited Partnerships (similar to Delaware LLPs) and Exempted Companies (companies registered in the Cayman Islands for operation in other jurisdictions).

An historically important piece of Cayman Islands legislation, the Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law (CRPL), has been in force since 1976 and was most recently revised in 2009. The CRPL imposes criminal penalties on any individual improperly disclosing confidential information which professionals are obliged to keep confidential, while also providing for the appropriate exceptions, including criminal investigations and disclosure in legal proceedings, where approved by the Grand Court.

Legal Proceedings

The Cayman Islands legal system is based on the English common- law legal system, which is a well-developed and internationally recognised system of law. Generally, English common-law principles are recognised and applied by the Courts in the Cayman Islands and, as a result, the Cayman Islands jurisdiction has a well-deserved reputation of producing balanced and predictable results, with wide applicability throughout the Commonwealth and in other offshore jurisdictions.

Litigants who are unhappy with a decision of the Grand Court can appeal first to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal (although leave to appeal is required in certain circumstances) and in some cases there is also a final appeal from the Court of Appeal to the UK Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal was established in 1984 (prior to this, appeals were heard by the Jamaican Court of Appeal) and is comprised of judges who have held high judicial office for many years in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. The current president of the Court of Appeal, the Rt. Hon. Sir John Chadwick, is very highly qualified; he was a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and a judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey, and is currently a judge of the Court of Appeal of the Dubai International Financial Centre. The Court of Appeal generally holds three sittings per year in the Cayman Islands, with three judges hearing each appeal. The Court of Appeal will also hold special sittings where the urgency of the matter requires.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is comprised of members of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. It is the court of final appeal for the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and for those Commonwealth countries that have retained the appeal to Her Majesty in Council.

The judicial process in the Cayman Islands has been streamlined considerably by the establishment of the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court (FSD) in 2009. The FSD was created to fulfil an identified need for special procedures and skills in dealing with the more complex civil cases that arise out of the financial sector in the Cayman Islands.

The procedures of the FSD, which are set out in part in the Grand Court Rules and in part in a separate FSD Users' Guide, reflect the need for urgent action to be taken in some cases; for there to be special processes for confidentiality and security of sensitive information; and for proper allocation of judicial resources in this highly specialised area of work. Each matter that is assigned to the FSD is assigned a specialist judge at the outset who will actively manage the case through to resolution. The FSD is served by six judges, including the Hon. Chief Justice, who all have a high level of practical experience and judicial expertise generally, and especially in relation to financial services matters. The FSD also caters for the global practicalities of financial services litigation, which frequently involves multi-jurisdictional issues and requires the involvement of experts and resources outside of the Cayman Islands. One example of the FSD's approach to the international nature of this type of work is the use of state-of-the-art video conferencing facilities at its specialist courthouse.

Bolstering the high quality of the judicial administration in Cayman is the first-rate legal talent that is abundant in the Islands as a result of both the first-class legal education and training opportunities available to Caymanians (the Cayman Islands has its own law school), and also by the presence of highly trained and experienced practitioners who have relocated to the Cayman Islands from throughout the Commonwealth, having been attracted by the high standard of living and the excellent quality of legal work on offer. Leading counsel from England with specialist knowledge and experience in financial services also appear regularly in the Grand Court and Court of Appeal, particularly in the more high-value and complex disputes. Legal proceedings and liquidations in respect of 100 million-dollar to multibillion-dollar disputes or estates are common in the Cayman Islands and, as a result, the legal practitioners here frequently deal with novel and cutting-edge legal issues.


A multitude of factors buttress the Cayman Islands' dominance in the offshore financial industry. The reactive and proactive nature of the legislature, coupled with the proficient judiciary produces an effective and efficient regime which ensures prognostic results welcomed by investors, investment managers and industry practitioners alike. Capitalising on these strengths as it does, Cayman will continue to evolve through the legislature's consultative efforts, highly capable judiciary and, especially, the use of the specialised FSD.

About the Author

Shelley White is Senior Counsel with Walkers, specialising in insolvency litigation, trust disputes and general commercial litigation.

About the Author

Joanne Verbiesen is an Associate with Walkers, specialising in commercial litigation, complex cross-border litigation and trusts disputes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions