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The Cayman Courts

Today was Judiciary day.  Shelia and I left our seminar and visited the Cayman Courts. It was time to leave the safe confines of the legal education we were receiving in the seminar room and get to the heart of the matter working in International Family Law.

One of the critical efforts we make is to develop personal relationships with the people in the countries in which we remotely and/or directly practice law.  Today we met with the Clerk of Civil Courts to have a long and fruitful discussion about the Hague Convention and service of process under the Hague, which is handled exclusively through his office.  We had a wide ranging discussion about Cayman's judiciary, their practice and how a Cayman Island final appeal is still handled before the Privy Council in London.  We toured the Courthouse, viewed the Courtrooms, evaluating their technological savvy (yes, they can handle video conferencing),  and assessed different agencies that review and report on courthouse action, always essential when you need day by day intelligence during the pendency of a case. 

After our appointments at court, we sat with natives of the Island, some of them decendants of Cayman Islanders from centuries ago.  We spent a long time enjoying the hospitalities of Pedro St. James and a decendant of the man who built the great house back in the 1700's. We learned about life on the island, not only its extensive, rich history, but its present pace. What it means to live in Grand Cayman now.

We moved from there to Bodden town where we sampled local wares. They made me the freshest most sumptuous fruit smoothy I have ever had!  We enjoyed our conversation as the local band was warming up for the Friday night festivities.  

Next we drove up the center of the island, past the Botanical Gardens, at which we had spent considerable time in some days ago, then driving along the north shore, heading west on out to Rum Point.  While Rum Point is particularly pretty, the picturesque small inlets of beach and sun setting brilliantly over the water, the entire north shore looks lost, derelict. There are certainly examples of significant wealth hanging on, but so many places were abandoned or for sale that, rather than seem well out into the hinterlands of Grand Cayman, the place seemed more abandoned, lonely.  Even out here, you can see the effects of the world wide recession.

Soon enough we headed back through the island and into Georgetown to enjoy dinner out on the water.  We didn't keep late hours there for we wanted to get back to the hotel to take our first walk on the beach.  We were successful! Hence, I am blogging again at this obscene hour, but thankfully from my hotel room.

International family law has many perks.  One of the best is meeting the judges and clerks of the far away courts in which we work.  Another is spending time with and getting to know the people who live there, in that wonderful far away place.  Not only do Shelia and I dearly enjoy getting to know such fantastic people in all corners of the globe, and not only do we know the value of having such one on one connections which only strengthen through the years, but the on the ground learning we gain from being there, touching the Earth from whence a case arises, gives us immeasurable understanding.

Our trip is drawing closer to its close.  Our seminar wraps up tomorrow and we fly home on Sunday.  We are looking forward to being home after being gone from our boys this long week, but the education, the experience we have derived from here, is invaluable.

Michael Manely

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