HOW THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY WORKS IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

This article will provide guidance on How The Central Authority Works in the Cayman Islands. As a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands is a party to this convention via the United Kingdom. The Cayman Islands operates on a parliamentary system. Charles III serves as head of state of the British Overseas Territories. At the helm of government is the Premier. The Cayman Islands government is in charge of executive affairs, while the legislature and the Click here for a video on International Process Service.

A constitution was ratified in 1959 by the Cayman Islands, which had an indigenous system of administration and law that had developed due to the islands’ geographical isolation during the early years of British colonial authority. On 20th May 2009, a constitutional document was approved by referendum, which transferred certain powers from the UK to the Cayman Islands Government. After that, the islands started running themselves. British precedent for limited civil administration has long been an asset to the Cayman Islands administration. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

process Service according to the Hague Service Convention in the Cayman Islands

The Clerk of the Courts, Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, is the central authority in the Cayman Islands under the Hague Convention.  Our Undisputed Legal process servers are local to the Cayman Islands and are well-versed with the requirements of service in the Cayman Islands. 

There is no need to translate papers to be served in the Cayman Islands since English is the country’s official language. The defendant must understand the papers to meet the standards of due process in the United States. Since the defendant may not be fluent in English, a translator may still be necessary.

Because of its status as an overseas territory, the Cayman Islands are bound by the same limitations and declarations made by the United Kingdom regarding the Hague Service Convention. This includes many other means of service. The Cayman Islands have no objections to service via the postal channel, as stated in Article 10(a).  It is important to note that mail service has several complications under the Hague Service Convention. For example, the rules of the forum court must be followed when executing the service, and there are cases where service abroad is appropriate even though the destination country has not explicitly stated that it is not opposed to mail service.

The Cayman Islands have no problem with direct service via private agents (process servers) or any other similar method. The effort to serve will be unsuccessful if the agent is not advised by a UK attorney; otherwise, it would be a violation of the UK’s stance on Article 10.

The Hague Service Convention governs the service of judicial and extra-judicial documents abroad in civil or commercial matters.  At Undisputed Legal, we have been conducting international service of process for many years. Our experience renders your process service requirements easy and faster than is typically possible. If you found this article helpful, kindly consider leaving us a review. Click the link to share your feedback, and we would greatly appreciate a five-star review.

What is the Central Authority in the Cayman Islands

The Grand Court is the Superior Court of Record of First Instance with unrestricted jurisdiction in criminal and civil proceedings, save when it sits as an appeal court from subordinate courts or other bodies (often statutory or quasi-judicial). It has the same power in the Cayman Islands as the High Court of Justice and its subordinate courts in England. Appointments to the Grand Court are made from among those who meet the same standards as those for the English High Court of Justice or other courts in the Commonwealth of Nations.

In its original 1877 statutory form, the Grand Court had limited special jurisdiction. In its current, contemporary guise, the Grand Court was founded in 1975 by the Grand Court Law and was recognized as a Constitutional Court in 1984. ‘All matters arising in judicature’ are under the purview of the Chief Justice. Along with other constitutional and legislative procedures, this one establishes the separation of powers and independence of the Judiciary from the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

The Chief Justice, or an appointed judge serving in an administrative role, is not just the ultimate decision-maker in matters of pure law but also the MLAT’s Central Authority. In 1986, the Cayman Islands were represented in the treaty’s signing by the US and UK. Grand Court cases involving complicated matters and large assets often arise in the Cayman Islands due to its prominence as an international offshore banking and financial hub. The Court’s domestic domains—criminal, family, common law, and civil—handle diverse and often intricate matters. The grand jury consists of seven members or, in the case of capital murder and money laundering, a larger jury of twelve. Typically, judges preside alone while hearing cases involving civil issues. Any appeals from the Summary Court, whether for civil or criminal matters, are heard by the Grand Court.

The Grand Court is in session all year round, but it formally opens at the beginning of January for a ceremonial opening. During this event, the Chief Justice gives an annual report to the public about the work of the Courts, and the Attorney General and other prominent lawyers address the Court on issues relevant to the practice of law in the jurisdiction. Each juror is required to serve for the whole two months of the trial. Our Undisputed Legal process servers are adept at the issues that are relevant specifically to the Cayman Islands.

process service to the Cayman Islands

Since the UK has agreed to certain provisions of the Hague Service Convention (Article 10), which apply to both the UK and British Overseas Territories like the Cayman Islands, it is usually easier to serve foreign court proceedings on the Cayman Islands incorporated entities.  A specific reason is that the Cayman Islands Companies Act (sections 70 and 71) allows for additional service methods for Cayman Islands companies.  However, if the intended recipient is willing to accept service voluntarily through an agreed method of service, the foreign jurisdiction in which service is to be effected can vary in nature and location. Consequently, the extent to which the foreign jurisdiction ratifies or derogates from the Hague Service Convention can affect the time and money needed to serve Cayman Islands Court proceedings on foreign companies or individuals outside of the jurisdiction. Service of process can often be tiresome to most defendants, and we at Undisputed Legal aim to make it as easy as possible for our clients.

Service of foreign proceedings is typically required through the Designated Central Authority of the relevant states in certain foreign jurisdictions. Diplomatic channels are also acceptable in some states. In some cases, it may be advantageous for the party bringing the lawsuit to seek a court order in the Cayman Islands that permits ‘substituted service’ or ‘alternative service’ via a less expensive and more expedited method than serving the document through a Designated Central Authority. Undisputed Legal retains friendly relationships with international authorities and servers in case your papers have to go through a different route. 

When does ‘substituted process service’ make sense?

In theory, the rules should make it clear when the Cayman Islands Court can order alternative or substituted service of documents on a foreign defendant; this is a well-trodden path in the case law of England and Wales and other comparable jurisdictions.

The current legal stance in the Cayman Islands seems to be less defined than it ought to be, according to recent case law. It remains case-specific in regard to the facts, evidence, and arguments that are put up.  Great care must be exercised in the preparation and presentation of any such application due to the possibility of a lengthy argument at a later date, as applications for ‘substituted service’ are typically made on an ex parte basis, which entails duties of full and honest disclosure and fair presentation on the side of the applicant and its solicitors. At Undisputed Legal, we pride ourselves on being up to date with the legal requirements of different jurisdictions in which we want to conduct service.  As with Writs and other originating court documents in civil and commercial litigation, every winding-up petition, summons, or other document required to be served under the CWR must adhere to the Grand Court Rules (GCR) for service and substituted service, as stated in Order 1, rule 4 of the Companies Winding Up Rules (CWR).

The regulations establish the Designated Central Authority as the first point of contact for serving documents on parties in countries that are signatories to the Hague Service Convention. This arrangement is outlined in Grand Court Rule (‘GCR’) Order 11, rule 6(3a). According to GCR Order 65, Rule 4, the Grand Court has the authority to issue a substituted service order. This occurs when a document that is required to be served personally on someone is served via another method.

Is it ‘expressly or impliedly prohibited‘ to carry out the procedures necessary to serve the document and notify the recipient of its existence in accordance with the general laws of the country where the recipient resides? The Cayman Islands have laid down specifics for substituted service in the jurisdiction. The service must ensure that measures are suitable and probable to serve the document to the intended recipient. It is mandated that ‘the court must take care not to equate delay, even lengthy delay, with impracticability, otherwise substituted service would become the norm when it should be the exception,’ in reference to the precedence of the Hague Service Convention. In a case involving the Hague Service Convention, a substitution order should only be granted in exceptional and rare cases, considering particular proof of litigation harm caused by delay (rather than the delay itself.)

A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal is also keenly aware of the paradigm shift that the pandemic has had on international relationships.  Several ex parte requests for substituted service were approved by the Cayman Court during the COVID-19 epidemic, taking into consideration the worldwide and local ‘lockdown’ circumstances. Given the interconnected nature of the two issues—effecting valid service and establishing jurisdiction—it would be unfair to reduce all arguments regarding the validity of service to mere technicalities. This is particularly true when the issue arises within the context of a legitimate and substantial challenge to jurisdiction. As such, Undisputed Legal is intrinsically familiar with the status and workings of the Grand Court in the Cayman Islands. 

Legalisation of foreign documents in the Cayman Islands

In 1965, the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom became parties to the Hague Convention that abolished the need to legalize foreign public documents. As a result, legal contact with other Convention member nations does not need diplomatic authentication or consular legalization of Cayman Islands papers. The authorities of the issuing state may confirm the papers’ validity in the destination state by affixing an ‘apostille’ stamp to an apostille certificate.

The apostille is a document that may be authenticated by the Governor of the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands government and other official entities may apostille documents. This rectangular stamp is known as an apostille. The issuing authority’s official language should be used for its completion. To be legitimate, an apostille must have the French declaration ‘Apostille (Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961)’ printed on it. Public papers in the Cayman Islands are authenticated when they undergo apostillization, which verifies both the document’s provenance and the authority of the authorities who signed, sealed, or stamped it. Following this authentication, the public document or certified copy is officially sealed with a special stamp called the apostille. The apostille is often affixed to a separate page or the back of the original public document.

It is only possible to provide the apostille for the original document. Consequently, it is essential that the latter be in excellent shape and have legible stamps and signatures. At Undisputed Legal, we ensure that your documents adhere to the requirements for service. We will ensure that your papers are not rejected for improper technique well within the deadlines for service. 

Notarization in the Cayman Islands

A Notary Public from the Cayman Islands will attest to the document’s authenticity and accuracy as a true copy of the original in order to facilitate the application for a work permit, a bank account, or any other endeavor requiring the verification of identification.

A client can discover a roster of all practicing notaries on the Judicial website. If an individual prefers a certified copy of a document for local use, a judge of the peace (JP) may legitimately certify it for free. A justice of the peace can be effective for international service as well. When foreign authorities specifically request it, a notary public must independently witness and authenticate all legal papers and transactions. When dealing with foreign authorities, it is essential to have a notary public independently verify and certify all legal papers and transactions. Notarization assures that the criteria are fully legitimate by confirming the legitimacy of a signed document. Copies of documents, such as airline tickets or utility bills, may have their authenticity confirmed by a public notary.

Documents such as powers of attorney, corporate resolutions, and statutory declarations can be prepared by notaries. We at Undisputed Legal, in addition to existing archives that can be notarized and authenticated, can help ensure that these documents are well cared for.

Power of attorney in the Cayman Islands

The donee of a power of attorney may execute legal documents, etc. The donee of a power of attorney has the discretion to do as they may see fit. This would include signing an instrument with their signature and, if necessary, having it sealed like a deed or other instrument. Alternatively, the done may act in their name with the permission of the power’s donor. Any document or action done in this way will have the same force and effect as if the donee had signed and sealed it like a deed or instrument or acted in the name of the power sponsor, respectively.

A donor has the authority to grant another person or entity a power of attorney to carry out all or part of the trusts, powers, or discretions given to them as trustees, either alone or in conjunction with others, for a maximum of twelve months. A trust corporation is one of the individuals who may be given a power of attorney.

At least one witness must testify to any document establishing an authority.  The donor is required to provide written notice to [A.] any individual (other than themselves) with the authority to appoint a new trustee under the trust instrument; and [B.] any trustees. The notice must specify the date on which the power comes into operation and its duration, the donee of the power, the reason for its delegation, and the trusts, powers, and discretions granted. 

A general power of attorney will grant the donee the authority to do anything that the donor could lawfully do through an attorney. Alternatively, if there is more than one donee, the donees can act jointly or severally.  A donee who continues to use power after it has been revoked will not be held liable to the donor or anybody else if they are unaware that the power had been revoked when they were acting.

 In cases where the PoA is stated in the instrument as irrevocable and intended to be given as security, the person handling it should presume that it cannot be revoked without the donor’s intervention with the donee’s consent. They will only be considered to know the revocation if they are aware that it has been revoked in that way.

Hiring a competent process server, such as Undisputed Legal in the Cayman Islands, may alleviate concerns about possible legal ramifications arising from improper service. We aim to ensure that our service can continue to function without a hitch in the courtroom, regardless of wherever the courtroom may be. The international service of process can be tiring, and service needs to adhere to specific requirements in different jurisdictions. A private process server like those at Undisputed Legal may be needed to properly and legally notify persons or businesses interested in judicial processes in the Cayman Islands. Justice may be more effectively and efficiently administered with the assistance of Undisputed Legal’s knowledge, regard for local law, and capacity to speed up the court procedure.

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed at (800)-296-0115, emailed to ps@undisputedlegal.com, mailed to 590 Madison Avenue, 21 Floor, New York, New York 10022, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist receives all documents.

DOMESTIC COVERAGE AREAS:

Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Maine | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | North Carolina | North Dakota | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | Nevada | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE AREAS:

Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas | Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People’s Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg| Malawi | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico| MonacoMontenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands| New Zealand |Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland| Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia | Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| UkraineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay | US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam

OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

Pick up the phone and call Toll-Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Cayman Islands process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives” – Foster, William A

Sources

1. According to this provision, ‘the Court may make an order for substituted service of that document’ if ‘it appears to the Court that it is impracticable for any reason to serve that document personally on that person.’

2. China Shanshui Cement Group Limited, FSD 161 of 2018 (NSJ),

3. Cecil v. Bayat [2011] 1 WLR 3086, Societe Generale v. Goldas [2018] EWCA Civ 1093, and Marashen Ltd. v. Kenvett Ltd [2018] 1 WLR 288.’

4. The apostille may attest to the legitimacy of the following documents:

  1. Birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates are civil status documents.
  2. Educational records (report cards, certificates, degrees)
  3. Extracts from the trade registry
  4. Decisions made by courts
  5. Documents with notarial certification
  6. Translations authorized by a notary public
  7. Additional legal papers (explanations, powers of attorney, testaments)
  8. Legalized business paperwork (such as articles of incorporation, registration certificates, tax registrations, etc.) from a state registration body

5. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 am to 12 pm, parties may visit the justice of the Peace Association’s office in the Government Administration Building to get your documents certified.

6. Article 7, Section 8 of the Powers of Attorney Law

7. Unless it is a trust company, the only other cotrustee of the donor of the power cannot be donee of a power of attorney

8. However, failure to comply will not invalidate any act or instrument executed by the donee of the power but will benefit the person dealing with them.

9. This does not govern the donor’s powers to dispose of any interest in immovable property, their functions as a trustee or personal representative, or their status as a tenant for life under the Settled Land Law [Cap. 156].

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