The Constitutional guidelines for the Commission are found in Section 116 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 (“the Constitution”) which reads as follows:
  1. There shall be in and for the Cayman Islands a Human Rights Commission (referred to as “the Commission”).
  2. The Commission’s primary responsibility shall be promoting understanding and observance of human rights in the Cayman Islands.
  3. The Commission shall consist of a Chairman and four other members appointed by the Governor, acting after consultation with the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition, at least two of whom shall be experienced lawyers.
  4. In the exercise of their functions, the Commission and its members shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.
  5. The Commission shall replace the Human Rights Committee.
  6. The Commission shall have power to –
    • (a) receive and investigate complaints of breaches or infringements of any right or freedom contained in the Bill of Rights or international human rights treaties that have been extended to the Cayman Islands, and investigate such possible breaches or infringements on its own initiative;
    • (b) provide advice to persons who consider that their rights or freedoms have been infringed;
    • (c) provide a forum for dealing with complaints by mediation or conciliation or by making recommendations;
    • (d) issue guidance on procedures for dealing with any complaints of breaches or infringements of rights and freedoms;
    • (e) contribute to public education about human rights;
    • (f) issue reports relating to human rights issues on its own initiative; and
    • (g) undertake such other functions, for the purpose of fulfilling its primary responsibility under subsection (2), as may be conferred on it by a law enacted by the Legislature.
  7. The Commission shall have no power to –
    • (a) represent or provide representation to parties to litigation;
    • (b) act in a judicial capacity or make binding determinations as to whether any right or freedom contained in the Bill of Rights or any international human rights treaty or instrument has been breached; or
    • (c) compel any person to do anything against his or her will;

but any public official to which the Commission addresses a recommendation must respond in writing within a reasonable time, and such responses shall be published by the Commission unless there is a good reason to withhold publication.

  1. The Commission shall make an annual report to the Legislative Assembly about its activities.
  2. Further provision relating to the establishment and operation of the Commission may be made by the Legislature, but such legislation shall not derogate from any provision of this section.
  3. Nothing contained in or done pursuant to this section or any law made under subsection (9) shall –
    • (a) 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
    • (b) prevent a person from seeking redress directly 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.