The thought of settling in the Cayman Islands almost always evokes images of white sand beaches, calm blue seas and maybe even a cold piña colada. Although settling litigation in the Cayman Islands may get you one step closer to retirement in the Caribbean, two recent judgments of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands highlight that a settlement which occurs after a trial will not necessarily mark the end of the matter.

Both judgments make clear that after a trial has concluded the judge has discretion to issue judgment, notwithstanding that the parties in the dispute may have reached settlement before the judgment is published.

In complex matters judges will often reserve their decisions for days, weeks or even months. This may give parties further time to settle disputes after the hearing has concluded, but before judgment is given.

The advantages of parties settling their disputes between themselves are well-known; settlement can save time, reduce costs, ensure confidentiality and avoid the uncertainty of handing over the determination of the dispute to the court (or other Settling litigation in the Cayman Islands third-party decision-maker).

Although these advantages do not carry as much weight when a trial has already concluded, there are good reasons that many disputes are only resolved at this late stage. Understandably, it is sometimes only after each party has had an opportunity to review and consider each other’s evidence and arguments (and perhaps witness the judge’s approach to the dispute) that they have enough information to reach a compromise.

This article was first published in Commercial Dispute Resolution.

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