20 March 2017 at 09:25 BST

Cayman Islands approves Legal Practitioners Law

Following a week of hot debate, the controversial bill regulating the operation of Cayman Islands law firms and lawyers was approved unanimously on Friday.

However, the matter is not yet completely final as the current version of the Legal Practitioners Bill is set to face significant changes in the legislative committee that will review it before a third and final vote on the measure later this week.

Caymanian ownership

Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton said one of the proposed changes was an effort to guarantee majority Caymanian ownership of all local firms – likely to be 60 per cent. He explained: ‘Over the next 15 years, we want to see the majority of Caymanians being engaged as owners, controllers of Cayman Islands law firms...That is a very significant step and one that we don’t take lightly.’

Professional development

There is also a change in the membership of the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association council, which would effectively oversee local firms. It has been agreed, in principle, that this council, comprised of eight people, would be 100 percent Caymanian. And, in order to secure additional funds to ensure the professional development of Caymanian lawyers, membership fees to the association would be increased.

Non-Caymanian criteria

The bill will retain current requirements that non-Caymanian lawyers must have at least four years post-qualification experience as an attorney before being considered for employment by a local firm.


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