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Monday, Oct 19, 2020

Cayman Islands’ dedicated legislation website launches

Cayman Islands’ dedicated legislation website launches

The Attorney General and the Portfolio of Legal Affairs are pleased to announce the launch of the Cayman Islands’ dedicated legislation website at legislation.gov.ky.
The launch also means that the public can now access all current Cayman Islands legislation free of charge on a single website. This includes laws and regulations, as well as all bills tabled for consideration by the Legislative Assembly.

The Cayman Islands Government’s decision to develop a website to provide access to all current and post-1963 historic Cayman Islands legislation to Caymanians and other stakeholders without charge, was based on the recognition of the importance of such access to democratic governance, the rule of law, and the proper administration of justice within the Cayman Islands.

Premier Hon Alden McLaughlin noted: “This has been a long time coming and I am very pleased that legislation.gov.ky has been launched. This service dovetails nicely with my Government’s commitment to transparency and gives the people who are governed by the laws we create the ability to see them no matter where they are and at no charge. That is as it should be.”

The legislation website was soft-launched in limited form in May this year, and was completed in August. Its development required that all existing legislation be individually classified by category, and that a unique reference/inventory number be attached to each item of legislation.

That effort has produced a website that has the advantage of multiple enhanced user-friendly features including:

1. ‘point-in-time’ searches of historic legislation as well as searches by categories, tags and key words;
2. notes attached to all legislation that provide the date of commencement and reference to commencement orders (if applicable);
3. a Consolidated Index of all legislation, which may be automatically generated at any current date.
4. all Bills, including the dates introduced and passed by the LA – from 2017;
5. all historic Consolidated Indices – from 2000;
6. all Proclamations by the Governor – from 2004;
7. all Legislation Gazettes – from 2019;
8. links to legislation imposed externally (i.e., by the UK – Imperial, Acts and Statutory Instruments), and
9. links to other legal resources. These include cases from the Cayman Islands courts and the Privy Council that are relevant to the Cayman Islands.

This feature is intended to facilitate understanding of how the Cayman Islands Courts interpret and apply each item of Cayman Islands legislation.
Attorney General Hon Samuel Bulgin has commended the website as extremely user-friendly and informative. He noted: “The launch of the dedicated legislation website is a major development in making the laws of the Cayman Islands accessible to our residents and others. When combined with the availability of the case-law online, it further enhances the jurisdiction’s commitment to the concept of open justice.”

The site was developed by Law Revision Commissioner Dr Camille Stoll-Davey of the Portfolio of Legal Affairs. She explained that, in the near future, the Portfolio intends to further enhance the website’s functionality in the following ways:

1. Addition of a complete database of repealed/revoked legislation. This enhancement will allow users to determine what legislation was applicable at any historical point in time.

2. Addition of a database of all the historic Revisions of Cayman Islands laws. Having this information will ensure that there are no gaps in the historic legislation should a user need to know the status of a particular item of legislation between revision dates.

Dr Stoll-Davey further explained that the database of repealed/revoked legislation is in the early stages of development: “There is extensive work still required in researching and completing this portion of the website.” With regard to the database of law revisions, she stated: “All the underlying historic legislation incorporated into post-2020 Revisions has been located and incorporated into the website. However, the underlying historic legislation incorporated into pre-2020 Revisions still needs to be located and uploaded to the website.”

People who do not have computers or internet service will be able to access the website at any CI Public Library. The Portfolio will provide library staff with the required support to guide them, and thereby the public, in navigating the new legislation website.

Dr Stoll-Davey concluded: “The Portfolio of Legal Affairs extends sincere gratitude to the dedicated staff of the Computer Services Department and the National Archives for their kind assistance in the process of developing the CI legislation website. We welcome any feedback or suggestions, which may be emailed to: LawRevisionCommission@gov.ky.”
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