Falkland Islands Welcomes its first Female Governor

In July 2022 the Falkland Islands welcomed its new, and its first female Governor, Alison Blake CMG.

 Ms. Blake is Governor of the Falkland Islands and Commissioner of the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. She previously served as High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Ms. Blake was sworn in on 23rd July 2022 at a ceremony attended by Judge Malcolm Simmons.

Judge Malcolm Simmons was appointed in February 2022 as resident judge of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and British Antarctica.  Judge Simmons is also Her Majesty’s Coroner for Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and British Antarctica.

“The Falkland Islands is a very busy jurisdiction – far busier than I could have imagined prior to my arrival.”

“Upon my arrival on the Islands, I was immediately presented with a case in the family court involving an application to remove a child from the jurisdiction. Recently, I have concluded two sexual assault cases.  I have two historic sexual abuse cases waiting to be heard. I have a steady stream of coroners work as well” said Judge Simmons.

Judge Malcolm Simmons is well-known for his judicial reform work.  Since 2017, he has advised the senior judiciary in the Maldives. Recently, the Maldives Judicial Academy welcomed Judge Malcolm Simmons upon his return to Malé to moderate a peer-to-peer discussion of judges of the Supreme Court of Maldives.

At the beginning of 2022, Judge Simmons mentored judicial trainers who delivered training to regional magistrates on sexual and gender-based violence, judicial ethics, case management, legal reasoning and judgment writing.

Judge Malcolm Simmons began the three-day training by describing the role of the judge. “The law that the courts are required to apply is becoming technically more complex. Social relations increasingly demand the intervention of justice. In our democratic and open societies, there are multiple and often conflicting rights and expectations that demand to be recognized and guaranteed. In addition, there are growing expectations of non-discrimination, equality, social equity and redistribution. On top of this, Judges must administer justice within the constraints of limited resources.” Judge Simmons stated.

Judge Simmons went on to say “Knowledge of substantive law is no longer sufficient. In a rapidly evolving world where technologies, social context and law change with extreme regularity, judges must constantly improve and update their professional knowledge, skills and behaviour. Judicial education and training are essential to the development of an efficient, competent and independent judiciary.”

Judge Malcolm Simmons drafted the criminal courts bench book that is currently being reviewed prior to its roll out. The bench books provide explanations and examples for judges hearing complex criminal cases and include suggestions on how judges should facilitate giving of evidence by victims of sexual and gender-based violence, vulnerable adults and children.

Judge Malcolm Simmons served as an international judge from 2004 to 2017 hearing war crime and serious and organised crime cases. He served as President of EU International Judges from 2014 to 2017. He is particularly well-known for his judicial reform work and has more that 20 years of experience training judges, prosecutors and lawyers. He has worked in judicial reform projects in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Pakistan and Maldives.