Options for Making a Complaint

If you believe that your rights and freedoms have been breached or violated, the Constitution has provisions to help you in two ways:

  • You may make a complaint to the Commission who can give guidance and or investigate and deal with the complaint by mediation or conciliation or by making recommendations; or
  • You may apply independently to the Grand Court, for a judgment concerning any alleged breach of your human rights under the Bill of Rights.

ALL COMPLAINTS AND ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE SECRETARIAT AND NOT TO INDIVIDUAL COMMISSION MEMBERS.

You do not have to take your complaint to the HRC.  Nothing contained in or done pursuant to Section 116 of the Constitution shall –

  • oblige a person to refer any complaint of a breach or infringement of any right or freedom referred to in the Bill of Rights to the Commission; or
  • prevent a person from seeking redress independently from the Grand Court in relation to any breach or infringement of a right or freedom referred to in the Bill of Rights, and the fact that such person had previously sought the assistance of the Commission with respect to such breach or infringement shall not prejudice any legal action.

PLEASE NOTE: THE COMMISSION DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE IN ANY CAPACITY AND GENERALLY WILL NOT BECOME INVOLVED IN CASES WHICH ARE BEFORE THE COURTS.

Accessibility of the Human Rights Commission

The Commission can be accessed by completing the application form found in the appendices section of this document.

Members of the Commission are unable to assist in the completion or submission of complaints.

The Commission may be contacted through the Secretariat in the following ways:

Phone: +1 (345) 244-3685

Fax: +1 (345) 945-8649

Website: www.humanrightscommission.ky

E-mail: info@humanrightscommission.ky

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 391, Grand Cayman KY1-1106

Physical Address: 2nd  Floor Artemis House, 67 Fort Street

Conflicts of Interest

If at any time there exists a conflict of interest on the part of a member of the Commission in relation to a complaint received by the Commission, that member shall excuse him or herself from consideration of the complaint whether at a meeting of the Commission or otherwise and shall take no part in the investigation of the complaint or the Commission's deliberations on the matter.

Information Required by the Human Rights Commission

In order to access the HRC, the individual should attempt to include all of the following information in any Complaint:

  • Name;
  • Postal address;
  • Physical address;
  • Telephone number;
  • Email address;
  • An account of the situation or circumstances, including dates where relevant, that has given rise to the complaint;
  • Any supporting documentation;
  • An indication of which human rights are thought to be at issue; and
  • Consent to the release of information form.

Failure to include all of the requested information in a complaint to the Commission, without good reason, may cause delay or prevent the acceptance of any such complaint.

The Commission reserves the right to withhold or redact any identifying characteristics when releasing information in appropriate circumstances such as in those cases involving minor children or when harm could be caused if the respondent’s identity is revealed. 

Releases

Confidentiality for a complainant is of paramount importance to the Commission and as such it will not communicate any matters concerning a complainant to a third party. It is a matter of policy that the Commission will only deal with a complainant personally. If a complainant is a minor or is incarcerated the Commission will, with an appropriately signed document, release information to a third party at a complainant’s request.  

The Commission will not accept complaints and requests on behalf of a complainant from a third party unless the complainant is a minor or under disability and the third party is his or her parent or guardian. The Commission will require documentary proof e.g. signed letter of authority, power of attorney or court order of such relationship to be provided. 

It is important to note that if, a complainant discloses or gives the Commission reason to believe that they are engaged in criminal conduct then such conduct may be reported to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (“RCIPS”). If a complaint alleges criminal conduct on the part of another then that conduct may also be reported to the RCIPS. Any other offence, such as an immigration related offence may be reported to the Immigration Department.

Procedure

Once a complaint has been received by the Commissions Secretariat it will be registered as a formal complaint. It will then, in the first instance, be vetted by the Manager, Commissions Secretariat who will determine whether the complaint should be brought to the attention of the Commission. The Manager will have the discretion to determine if a complaint is obviously frivolous and to reject the complaint on the grounds that there is no evidence indicating a breach or infringement of your human rights; or to request further information. The Commission will be notified via email of a dismissed complaint.  

In cases where the complaint is not immediately rejected it shall be forwarded to all members and be placed on the agenda for the next available Commission meeting. At this meeting the Commission will further examine the complaint to see whether it discloses a possible breach of the Bill of Rights or any International Human Rights Treaty extended to the Cayman Islands.  If it does then the Commission will decide on a timetable and action plan to move the complaint forward; if it does not the file will be closed and the complainant notified.

Where a complaint is considered urgent, the Chairman of the Commission may choose to call an extraordinary meeting in order to consider the complaint.

The creation of an action plan does not necessarily indicate that a complaint will ultimately be upheld.  Rather, it signifies that the Commission believes that there is a concern that merits further inquiry or that more information is needed in order to make an informed decision.

Once the Commission has determined that the complaint discloses a possible breach of the Bill of Rights or any International Human Rights Treaty extended to the Cayman Islands the complaint will be investigated. In such cases, the Commission may ask the Commissions Secretariat to assist them in the investigation part of the process.

During the investigation details of your complaint will be shared with the respondent and they will be given an opportunity to make a formal reply to the complaint.  In the process of the investigation, if the parties are amenable, the Commission can operate as a mediator in an effort to broker an amicable settlement between the parties.  This settlement must, however, comply with the generally accepted interpretation of the right or rights at issue.

Once the Commission has obtained all of the information that it requires, it will make a determination as to the way forward including possible recommendations.

Reports and Findings

The Commission may choose to write a report on the subject matter of complaints or matters of interest from time to time. Those case reports will generally include the following:

  • A summary of the complaint or matter of interest;
  • An indication of whether any investigation and/or mediation was undertaken;
  • The findings of the Commission;
  • Recommendations on the case or topic at hand from the Commission;
  • Broader general recommendations, if the Commission believes that these are appropriate.

Reports will be published on the Commission website and will, unless there are persuasive reasons otherwise, include the names of the parties involved. Copies of reports will also be sent to key personnel, including the respondent and/or representatives of the Cayman Islands Government, in an effort to ensure that any valid concerns receive the maximum possible exposure.

Once a report has been written, the Commission will not review the complaint unless new information is presented to the Commission which in their opinion may alter the outcome of the report.

Complaints Forms