The LGBTQIA+ charity Colours Caribbean has described Magdalen President Dinah Rose QC’s statement defending her role in an anti-gay marriage lawsuit as “offensive to the very many LGBTQIA+ persons in the Cayman Islands that have suffered at the hands of Dinah Rose QC’s client for many years.”

This comes after over a week of scrutiny of Ms Rose’s position in the litigation. While Oxford JCRs and societies have questioned her participation in the case on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government, some legal experts have defended her duty to represent her clients at the Bar.

Primarily, Colours Caribbean have taken exception to Ms. Rose’s argument that the Cayman Islands is one of “the most progressive countries for LGBTQIA+ rights in the Caribbean”. The non-profit organisation highlighted how prejudice in the Caymanian government means that “law firms in the jurisdiction are concerned about supporting LGBTQIA+ rights for fear of repercussion”. 

Indeed, even when the LGBTQIA+ members of the Caymanian community could get access to pro bono legal representation, from human rights lawyer Leonardo Raznovich, “Cayman Islands legislators pushed the Attorney General to declare [him]… a prohibited immigrant purely on the basis of his human rights work for LGBTQIA+ people”.

Highlighting the controversy caused by the issue, Colours Caribbean added: “We are British citizens that are being oppressed by our government and to be clear, this suffering has led to some LGBTQIA+ persons taking their own lives and many others have found it necessary to emigrate in order to settle and found a family, particularly prior to 2016 when there were no immigration rights for same-sex couples.”

Moreover, Colours Carribean also put on record their disagreement with Ms. Rose’s suggestion that the Cayman Islands Government’s legalisation of same-sex civil partnerships – in the Civil Partnership Act 2020 – was instigated by her client. Rather, they said, it was “due to Colours Caribbean’s actions”.

They noted that “the Cayman Islands Government has not yet agreed that same-sex couples should have the same rights as married heterosexual couples”, and that the legislation was “impose[d]” by the UK rather than being the result of a “concession that the Cayman Islands Government made to the Court of Appeal, as Dinah Rose QC had suggested”.

The fundamental issue, then, seems to be that this legislation does not assure same-sex couples’ rights in the face of judicial review. As Colours Caribbean put it themselves: “If Dinah Rose QC succeeds for her client in the appeal before the Privy Council and the judicial review in the Cayman Islands is also successful, LGBTQIA+ people of the Cayman Islands will be left without same-sex marriage and without civil partnerships, leaving the jurisdiction with no legal framework for same-sex couples”.

Summing up their argument, Colours Caribbean said it was “disappointing” that Rose was representing the Cayman Islands Government on this matter, and voiced additional concern at the “secrecy” of the judicial review proceedings.

Dinah Rose QC has been approached for comment.

Image Credits: Flickr

Mitchell Marshall

Mitch (he/ him) is Editor-in-Chief for Trinity term 2021 as well as a long-suffering Sunderland fan, keen runner and general sports obsessive. His other interests include indie music, arthouse cinema, and coffee.