Are you a litigator considering relocating to the Cayman Islands? Here are some considerations…

May 17, 2023
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

The Cayman Islands, renowned for its picturesque beaches and offshore financial services, has become an attractive destination for legal professionals seeking exciting international opportunities. For litigation lawyers considering a relocation to this British Overseas Territory, we feel that it is important to understand the unique aspects of practicing law in the Cayman Islands. This article explores some considerations that could help to make the move happen.

Areas of Expertise

Contentious work in the jurisdiction is often demanding and complex, and therefore the calibre of legal talent is extremely high. While Cayman offers a broad range of legal services, there are particular areas that are in high demand such as insolvency, funds disputes, shareholder disputes, trust disputes and civil fraud. Disputes are nearly always ultra-high-value and cross-border, involving parties from all across the globe. Prior experience in such disputes can be an advantage when seeking employment opportunities. In particular, contentious insolvency experience.

Qualifications and Admissions

To practice law in the Cayman Islands, expatriate lawyers must meet certain admission requirements. This involves being admitted to practice in a recognised commonwealth jurisdiction, surpass three years’ post-qualification experience and maintaining good standing with the recognised bar association, as well as a valid work permit. There are no bar or cross-qualification examinations, simply an admission ceremony at the Grand Court.

Recognised commonwealth jurisdictions include:

  • England & Wales
  • Scotland
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada

Familiarity with Cayman Islands Legal System

The legal system in the Cayman Islands is based on English common law. However, there are some unique aspects to the local legal framework, including statutes and procedures that may differ slightly from other jurisdictions. Gaining a solid understanding of the Cayman Islands legal system, court structure, and precedents will benefit litigation lawyers looking to obtain employment in the jurisdiction.

Networking and Relationships

Prospective lawyers should be aware that networking and marketing tends to come as part of life as a litigator in Cayman. Lawyers tend to be client facing from an early stage in their careers and regularly find themselves attending legal events, seminars, and conferences locally and overseas. As a successful litigator, you would be expected to be comfortable in such scenarios and have a keen eye on developing relationships with outside stakeholders.

Lifestyle and Work-Life Balance

While the Cayman Islands offers exciting career opportunities, it also boasts a more relaxed and laid-back lifestyle. Whilst this does not mean a nine-to-five job, it does mean that you will be working relatively better hours if you are coming from a major city law firm.

Those who thrive in an outdoor lifestyle can take advantage of the island’s natural beauty, pristine beaches, and recreational activities to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This balance is one of the key attractions for many professionals who choose to relocate to this idyllic destination.

Work Permit Requirements

In order to relocate to Cayman permanently, lawyers must first obtain employment and a work permit. Workforce Opportunities & Residency Cayman (WORC) oversees work permits for non-Caymanians. For guidance on the work permit process, please feel free to contact us.

Plan ahead

The application and relocation processes could take anywhere between three to six months, taking into account work permit applications and any notice periods for resignation. Make sure to plan ahead as you simply will not be here overnight!

Relocating to the Cayman Islands as a litigator can be a highly rewarding and fulfilling career move. The Cayman Islands offers a unique blend of professional growth, a reputable legal system and an exceptional quality of life, making it an enticing destination for ambitious litigation lawyers seeking new horizons.

Payam Montazeri is a Cayman-based senior legal recruiter who specialises in the Cayman legal market, having guided countless legal professionals to secure employment in the jurisdiction over the years. For those looking for more information and guidance on relocating to Cayman, please contact Payam via