Valedictory ceremony for Deemster Doyle

News Publication Date: 03 September 2018


Held in Court 3 on 27 July 2018


Address by His Honour Deemster Corlett

Your Excellency, Your Honours, Mr Attorney, Your Worships, Mr President, Mr Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome to Court 3 in the Isle of Man Courts of Justice on the occasion of this public farewell and tribute to David Doyle. David’s last gig is certainly a sell-out.

It is a particular pleasure to welcome David’s wife Barbara and his son Ferghus.

It is indeed a very strange and mysterious world in which we live. I have to say that never in my wildest dreams when I was an advocate of the Manx Bar would I have believed that in July 2018 I would be presenting a valedictory address on the occasion of Deemster Doyle’s retirement as First Deemster, and that I of all people would be following in his illustrious footsteps.  Such a scenario seemed to me almost as unlikely as my lawn turning brown after a lengthy drought in the Isle of Man, or wallabies being found in Onchan and Silverdale.  Nevertheless, I greatly welcome this opportunity to pay tribute to our outgoing First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls.

First a bit of history.

David Charles Doyle and I go back rather a long way. We were actually at school together at King William’s College, although I doubt that we ever actually spoke to each other.  David was a boarder and I was a day boy.  He was also, believe it or not, in the year below me.  (He is actually about a year younger than me!).

In those days boarders did not speak to day boys, particularly if they were in different years 

Somehow, David managed to survive his no doubt traumatic years at King William’s College and went to Newcastle University to study law, a subject he clearly fell in love with, because I believe his favourite place while there was not the students’ union bar, or the local record shop, but the law library, a rather disturbing confession but one which explains a lot.

David’s upbringing was certainly different to mine. While I grew up in Ballasalla and Laxey, David spent a great deal of his youth in Hong Kong.  There is no doubt in my mind that it is this somewhat cosmopolitan upbringing, combined with the international nature of the work which he did as an advocate, which has informed his approach to matters such as international judicial co-operation and his general approach to the work and role of the First Deemster. 

We were also study buddies in 1984 when we both took the Manx Bar Exams. I well remember calling in at David’s home in St Catherine’s Drive, Douglas, when we would go through past examination papers and try to guess what fiendish surprises the Deemsters had dreamt up for us.  David’s expertise in company law and private international law, even then, was particularly impressive and was to prove influential in his later career path.

I believe we must have taken the Manx Bar Final exams in May 1984. Following the final paper there followed a quite remarkable and peculiarly Manx version of Homer’s Odyssey involving the four examinees, Messrs Carter, Callow, Corlett and Doyle.  This involved an epic return trip to Laxey on the Manx Electric Railway, followed by a visit to several taverns in both Laxey and Douglas.  Recollections of that day and of the evening which followed differ in their detail.  I rather think that there has been a great deal of embellishment and maybe some editing.  I do recall many choruses of that famous Manx ditty, ‘The Laxey Wheel’, led I think by Mr Carter.  Nowadays, no doubt, this all would have been captured on mobile phones and posted on Facebook (other platforms are available), but in those days there was, and is (to the best of my knowledge), no documentary corroboration whatsoever.  All that perhaps needs to be said is that none of the party were prosecuted as a result of the events of that day.

In the event, we all passed the exams; I then joined David at Dickinson Cruickshank & Co and together we became partners in what was an extremely busy general practice and at a time when the Manx ‘finance sector’, as it was then known, was really beginning to take off. I believe at that time there were around 30 advocates in the whole of the Isle of Man in private practice, so we were kept very busy indeed.  We did however find time often to take a sandwich together at lunchtime, and it was said that you could tell the time by our regular walks along the Loch Promenade when we would discuss, amongst other matters, the knotty legal issues of the day.

It has to be said that the Isle of Man in the 1980’s was still a bit like the ‘Wild West’ in terms of regulation and, following the ‘Big Bang’ and deregulation in the City of London in October 1986, it became de rigueur, or at least fashionably acceptable, for advocates to visit the local champagne bar (known as the ‘Nikkei Dow’) in Barrack Street to discuss the day’s events, drink the firm’s profits and, certainly in the case of David, to charm the local womenfolk.

Later, our paths diverged; I was tiring of the corporate work upon which I was increasingly engaged, and decided to do something more useful, public spirited and certainly less well-paid by becoming Government Advocate in the Attorney General’s Chambers. David continued at Dickinson Cruickshank & Co and became the partner heading their commercial department, with conspicuous success.  I seem to recall also that during this time he became something of a radio star and appeared regularly on Manx Radio with his friend Charles Guard.  Maybe a role to which he will return?  Certainly his media profile has never been less than prominent.

David however had never made any secret when a trainee of wishing to become a Deemster. If he wished to assure us that he was telling the truth, he would ‘swear on Parr’s Abstract’ (a reference to Deemster Parr’s ‘Abstract of the Laws of the Isle of Man’ circa 1690).  His evident love for the Isle of Man must have been very considerable, because prior to being articled at Dickinson’s my recollection is that he had worked for a while at Slaughter and May, then, and still now, a pre-eminent firm in London’s ‘magic circle’ of solicitors.  I am quite sure that, had he wished, he could have become a partner there or walked into any of the leading barristers’ chambers.  However, his ambition to become a Deemster remained and the Island must count itself very fortunate indeed that this is the path which he chose.  He set upon the task of attaining the goal of judicial preferment with his characteristic determination and charm.

So it was that in 2003 David was appointed to the post of Second Deemster. I had meanwhile returned to private practice in 2001 and appeared before David a few times before becoming full-time Deputy Deemster in 2007.  It quickly became evident that David was eminently suited to his new role.  His preparation for any hearing was meticulous and he invariably knew the case better than any of the counsel appearing before him.  I well remember the rather difficult case of Ice Mann Food Service v Clucas Food Service Ltd in December 2005 when I appeared for the successful claimant.  David produced a judgment which, characteristically, listed 33 factors which the court should consider when awarding indemnity costs.  Indeed, David’s judgments are a paradigm of that retail phenomenon ‘two for the price of one’.  Not only do the litigants receive a comprehensive and well-reasoned decision on the dispute itself, but the legal profession receives definitive guidance on the wider issues raised by the case.

An examination of the Manx Law Reports from David’s appointment as Second Deemster in March 2003 reveals many of David’s judgments in the field of criminal law, civil law, even family law, and of course his membership of numerous appeal courts. (This essential part of my address may take a little time, so at this point may I respectfully suggest that the non-lawyer members of the audience may wish to take a short nap).

But there are undoubtedly some clear themes which shine through in these judgments and reflect uncannily David’s interests, in particular, the theme of the Isle of Man’s role in the wider world. We see this in his ground-breaking judgment in Re Impex in January 2004 when he dealt with the issue of cross-border insolvency and the need for the Isle of Man to co-operate with foreign courts which respect the rule of law and human rights.  Later that same year, in August 2004, he dealt with Re Secilpar which dealt with the issue of disclosure in the context of assistance to a foreign court.

In March and July 2006 came his judgments in Re Gladstone and Re Tomlinson which addressed the rules concerning the recognition in the Isle of Man of a foreign appointed trustee in bankruptcy.

In November 2009 in Re Kennedy he gave support to the international mutual assistance process under section 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and in April 2012 in US S.E.C. v Wyly we see him setting down the principles concerning the enforceability of letters of request from a foreign court asking for assistance in obtaining evidence for use in proceedings in that court.

In October 2012 he gave judgment in the Interdevelco case and addressed the principle of universalism in international insolvency proceedings.

In Holmcroft Properties in September 2016 he gave important guidance on the application of the legislation dealing with the mutual exchange of information relating to taxation between the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man and noted that, subject to suitable safeguards, “international co-operation and assistance is the accepted order of the day in the Isle of Man”.

His most recent pronouncement on the issue of assistance to foreign courts may be found in Re Coln Properties in April 2017 which dealt with a cross-border insolvency and assistance to foreign liquidators.

Another prominent theme in David’s judgments is the need to give clear and helpful guidance to liquidators and trustees. Throughout his period in office he has regularly delivered judgments in this vital field, particularly vital of course to an international finance centre such as the Isle of Man.  His first major judgment in this area was of course Re Isis in February 2011, and this was followed in 2014 by Re Delphi Trust and Re FPA Ltd.  Subsequently, in June 2016 in AB v CD he had the opportunity to consider and to give helpful guidance on the controversial UK Supreme Court decision in Pitt v Holt, and most recently he gave further guidance to trustees on the issue of ‘momentous decisions’ in Re A’s Application in January 2017.

It should not be forgotten of course that David came into office as First Deemster in December 2010 at a time when civil litigation was undergoing major reform in the shape of the new 2009 Rules of Court which were largely modelled on the English Civil Procedure Rules. In October 2009 in Howell v DHSS he had already noted that the 2009 Rules had ushered in a “new culture”.  Somewhat to the horror of some members of the Manx Bar, David had refused in that case to vacate trial dates in the face of both sides supporting a vacation.  A new culture indeed!

He went on in other cases to deliver authoritative guidance on virtually every aspect of civil procedure, from security for costs to disclosure, to dismissal for want of prosecution, to the increasingly prominent issue of costs, and he has also set down for the benefit of the profession (and indeed future First Deemsters for which I particularly thank him) the rules applicable to the granting of temporary advocates’ licences to English counsel.

His consummate grasp of company law is also evident from many of his judgments. He was, I think, delighted to be able to preside over the minority shareholder oppression case of Re Oxleys in September 2003.  His judgment is a tour de force and sets out the law with conspicuous clarity.  Similarly, I detect considerable enthusiasm in his judgment in Belgravia Corporate Services in August 2005 when he dealt with a just and equitable winding up and had the opportunity, beloved of company lawyers, of dealing with the famous rule in Foss v Harbottle.

In Origo Partners v Brooks MacDonald in July 2015 he dealt with the law on the construction of a company’s internal rules or articles of association and gave much valuable guidance.

The non-lawyers may now wish to wake up!

The wider public might consider these cases as rather technical and arcane, divorced from the lives of the so-called ‘ordinary citizen’. However, it is in fact impossible to read David’s judgments without being stuck by his concern for fairness, open justice, the rule of law and the rights of the individual, including those individuals who may be vulnerable and lacking the resources available to big business. 

His many years presiding over the Court of General Gaol Delivery, sometimes dealing with cases with truly horrifying facts, gave him the opportunity to lay down clear rules and principles applicable to matters such as the granting of bail, the stay of criminal proceedings, the proper procedure to be observed at sentencing hearings, and the right of a legally aided defendant who has been acquitted to recover costs. His attitude to issues of human rights may be neatly summarised by a judgment he gave in the case of Riley v Department of Home Affairs in May 2012 when he said this:

“Tynwald, like all parliaments in civilised jurisdictions, had to be taken to value the liberty of the individual. The liberty of the individual should be safeguarded by the judiciary.”

And he added that any statutory provision had to be construed in the context of the importance which the Manx common law placed on the liberty of the individual.

The principle of open justice is also one which shines through several of David’s judgments and is a topic on which he has regularly spoken. He set out the position with great clarity in three important judgments, Taylor v AG in June 2011, Harding v An Officeholder in June 2013, and Re Delphi Trust in February 2014.

I cannot complete this whistle stop tour of David’s many judgments without mentioning that in Attorney General v Lamb, delivered in November 2016, he made a heartfelt plea that our legislators should make laws, especially those in the field of criminal law, which are “clear, simple and easily understood … and as free from doubt as humanly possible”.

But of course David has not only produced a body of impressive judgments. He somehow found time to write a book during his time as Second Deemster on Manx Criminal Law and Procedure.  He had previously tried his hand at authorship when in private practice he contributed an important section on the Manx Legal System to Mark Solly’s seminal work ‘Government and Law in the Isle of Man’.  His contribution to the learning of students preparing for the Manx Bar exams has been marked by the lectures he has given and by his comprehensive notes on various aspects of law and procedure.  His work for the Small Countries Financial Management Programme is well known.  He is held in great respect by his judicial colleagues around the world and especially in the British Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth, but also in the United States where he made friends with members of the Supreme Court.  Of particular note has been his appointment to the high powered Appeal Courts of both Jersey and Guernsey and I know he has made a distinguished contribution to their deliberations.  The positive findings of the recent MOVEYVAL report on the independence and strength of the Manx judiciary are matters of which David can be justifiably proud.

It is also surely no coincidence that our Government is shortly to introduce the Council of Ministers (Amendment) Bill which will place on a statutory footing the duty of Ministers, both collectively and individually, to maintain the rule of law and protect judicial independence. David has for many years propounded, in both his judgments and his various lectures, the virtues of the rule of law and of judicial independence and I know that he is delighted to see this very positive legislative development.

Then of course there is his obsession with not only growing pumpkins, but also winning many prizes for them, and his ability to balance the onerous duties of First Deemster with his talent as a race walker and runner. It is without doubt these vital outside interests which have given him the required balance in his life and enabled him to fulfil his onerous judicial duties for so many years.

Now, there has been speculation as to why David is returning to private practice. Surely he would prefer to remain in judicial office and continue to pay for his car parking space in the basement of the leaking Isle of Man Courts of Justice, to struggle with the increasing demands of litigants in person, to endure a pay freeze for the last 9 years, and to have his pension “reformed”?  Surely all this is preferable to a return to private practice and the opportunity to gaze over Douglas Bay in his luxurious office, with a free swimming pool and gym facilities and unlimited assistance from a team of eager young lawyers?

But, perhaps the simple answer is, after all, that 15 years as a Deemster is long enough for anyone.

Whatever may be his reasons, I wish David the best in his new ventures and in particular that he enjoys his three months’ sabbatical before resuming work once again. They say that those who retire must have a talent for idleness.  I hope he may explore that talent for at least that short period of time.

I have sought to show that David’s contribution to Manx Law has been quite exceptional. I am absolutely certain that his judgments will continue to be cited in the Manx courts and elsewhere for many, many years.  They are testament to David’s remarkable energy, enthusiasm and love for the law and for the Isle of Man. 

While I’m on the subject – by the way David, before you leave office on Tuesday, there’s an application for a worldwide freezing order which has come in and is on your desk – only five lever arch files to read before Monday at 10am!

I shall now call upon His Honour Judge of Appeal Jeremy Storey.


Address by His Honour Judge of Appeal Storey QC:

I concur with everything that has fallen from my brother’s lips except for two matters. I am therefore obliged to deliver a short dissenting judgment.

First, David is not retiring or even stepping down, merely side-stepping across to Cains. David does not acknowledge the word ‘retiring’ except to describe what he does at the end of each case in court.  He is definitely not retiring as a Bencher of Gray’s Inn, an Associate Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies, a lecturer on the Isle of Man and at Oxford, UCL and Harvard or, indeed, as an author.  A second edition of Doyle on ‘Manx Criminal Law and Procedure’ is required urgently by the Judge of Appeal who has no idea what might have changed since 2010.  In the Foreword to the first edition, my predecessor, Geoffrey Tattersall QC, said this:

“It is a work of unadulterated thoroughness and detail covering every aspect of the subject which seamlessly combines both scholarship and practicality. Anyone involved in criminal law in the Island would do well to read it and I warmly commend it.”

I saw recently it’s the most read book in the library of the Jurby prison.

Secondly, I do not agree with Deemster Corlett that there is speculation as to why David is returning to private practice. I know the reason.  As many of you will be aware, David’s pumpkin won the Stephen Crellin memorial silver cup in 2016 but nothing in 2017.  If he fails to win the first prize in 2018 with his current specimen, he wants to be in a position to pursue a Petition of Doleance in the Isle of Man Courts and he felt that this would not be possible if he had remained in office as First Deemster. 

So, mystery solved.

I conclude by paying my own tribute to David as a judge.

Over the last 15 years, David has delivered over 250 first instance judgments in the civil and family jurisdictions and sat on nearly 200 criminal, civil or family appeals (sometimes as presider) as well as sitting in the Court of General Gaol Delivery for 9 years, including trials for murder, the most serious sexual and drugs offences, offences of maximum violence and passing over 400 sentences. Many of his judgments are held in the highest esteem by the Privy Council and the Courts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, Ireland, the BVI, Bermuda, Cayman, Gibraltar, Hong Kong and Australia, and his authoritative and perspicacious jurisprudence will be sorely missed.  His passionate interest in a distinctly Manx jurisprudence, past, present and future, and his understanding of the important role of the Isle of Man, its unique identity and its relationships with the UK, the EU, the Commonwealth and the wider international community will be hard for his successors to emulate. 

His accomplishments include the drafting of the 2009 Rules with Deemster Kerruish, the introduction of a Judicial Code of Conduct, the recruitment and encouragement of Manx advocates as part-time Deemsters, leading the judiciary’s engagement with the 2016 MONEYVAL review and presiding over the Advocates Disciplinary Tribunal, all founded on his immense sense of public duty. I can only commiserate with the toll this has all taken, having looked at the photograph of David from 2003, displayed in the Judicial Corridor, on my way into court today.

My very best wishes and congratulations go to David, Barbara, Charlie, George and Ferghus.

I call upon Her Majesty’s Attorney General.


Address by Her Majesty’s Attorney General John Quinn QC:

Your Excellency, Honours, Your Worships, Madam President of the Law Society, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

This is the second time I have been given the privilege and honour to speak at a farewell ceremony of a retiring member of our Judiciary. The first farewell last September was to Geoffrey Tattersall QC retiring as our then Judge of Appeal, now today a second farewell, to you Your Honour, Deemster David Doyle, Her Majesty’s First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls.

These occasions are days of mixed emotions; sadness, to be saying our goodbyes, and gratitude as we reflect and acknowledge David’s most impressive contribution to the Island.

We have heard addresses from His Honour Deemster Corlett and from His Honour Jeremy Storey QC, our Judge of Appeal, who have both paid their respective tributes to David, in particular they mention his contribution as a Judge. I can add little in that regard as they are both much better to enunciate and put into context the immense value of David’s achievements, and we will later hear from the President of the Law Society who will no doubt put on record the appreciation of all the members of Society for the tireless work that David has done to improve jurisprudence on the Island, his considered guidance to all the students at law here on the Island, and most impressively with the offer of continuing education to the membership.

We have been reminded of David’s time, first in general practice and then over the last 15 years when serving this court. I pay tribute to the wisdom with which he has conducted cases, his interaction with counsel, his careful consideration of the merits of each argument and his work to bring each case to a just conclusion.  Your judgements, David, have been skilfully crafted with frequent references to various aspects of Manx Life, our customs, our foibles, which references have greatly assisted a better understanding how you went about applying your flawless logic, even at times referring to well-known fiction to demonstrate the point, as you did in your judgment of Wine v Wine in 2007, when you said:

“It is not the policy of this jurisdiction to support a concept of blanket confidentiality to cloak irregular financial dealing. Those endeavouring to make use of the equivalent of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak to prevent sight of information or documents regarding the proceeds of wrong doing will find, to their disappointment, that it does not work in this jurisdiction.”

Nor should we forget that your time in office has coincided with many important judicial and administrative reforms, not least the introduction of the new Civil Rules. You are stepping down from the Bench David, we know that we have not heard the last of the reasoned judgements and they will be cited in many cases in years to come.  You leave the Bench having well and truly made your mark.

But I cannot but help wonder, this is where I do wonder, how you might in the future seek to distinguish one of your own judgments should the need arise. With regret, I do not believe that you will be able to hide behind the cloak of invisibility.  You could, of course, adopt the approach of Vice Chancellor Sir Robert Megarry who, when hearing a case, was confronted with a passage from Snell on Equity (of which Megarry was himself the author): Megarry responded to counsel’s challenge to the text: “the learned author of Snell had not had the benefit of fully reasoned argument”. That was some attempt at a cop out.  Perhaps David, that is how you might meet such a challenge in future because we are all well aware as counsel, reasoned decisions of the court, even your own, can be argued in reverse too. 

David, I make brief mention of your judgeship by reminded you of a legendary judge who appears in one of the stories of F E Smith when the judge is addressing Smith as a young member of the Bar. The anecdote runs like this:

The Judge:       Have you ever heard of a saying by Bacon — the great Bacon — that youth and discretion are ill-wedded companions?

And then Smith: Yes, I have. And have you ever heard of a saying of Bacon — the great Bacon — that an over talkative judge is like an ill-tuned cymbal?

Such an exchange could, of course never, never occur in these courts, because no advocate would be so rude to a judge, and I hope that in your time on the Bench you have never faced such discourtesy, but more importantly, as a judge in this court no-one would ever describe you, David, as over-talkative or your elegant tones as resembling an ill-tuned cymbal.  Throughout your time on the Bench you treated all before you with the utmost courtesy and we are so grateful.

David, you have (as has been mentioned and acknowledged), despite the stresses of judicial office, selflessly made time to make contributions to the limited texts on Manx Law and Practice and have, seemingly tirelessly, seized many opportunities to lecture both on and off-Island helping to build up and bolster the message that here on the Island we robustly adhere to the Rule of Law.   Your speeches and esteemed publications are invaluable to all who practice law, not only to those who have an interest in what the law is on the Island, but also, at times, what the law should be.  The legal profession and the broader community are thankful for your contribution.

In my role as Attorney I have not personally had the pleasure or reason to appear before you, and so my experience of you whilst on the Bench has very much been as a bystander and receiving reports from my professional officers on how you dealt with matters which, as Attorney, I had referred to the court for your determination. It is clear from the decisions which you reached in the cases I was involved in, whether before you at first instance or on appeal, that you never lost sight of the impact the decisions you made would have had on the individuals involved in each case, and on society at large.

You have always had proper regard to the rule of law and the requirement of the Island to uphold the same. Not to say of course that you’ve always found in my favour, which of course is correct, as often I have had cause to refer matters to you to enable you, in the public interest, to add clarification to the court’s interpretation and application of matters.

David, our own association at the Bar goes back many years. Although I am not too many years older than you, I can recall you starting your training as an advocate when you were then at Dickinson Cruickshank & Co.  You were then, as now, quiet and discerning and I recall you immediately making your mark, in what was a much smaller Bar, by demonstrating your sharp intellect and strong values, and yet still with a sense of fun.  You stood out as a young Advocate who was going on to achieve great things, and I have no hesitation in acknowledging today that you have done so.  I then recall on few occasions dealing with you in practice when we were on opposing sides, win or lose we remained friendly, professional colleagues, and I believe with a mutual respect.  I also recall the significant contribution you made to the Council of the Law Society, where we both sat, and in particular I was very grateful at the time, and remain so now, for the help and support and guidance you gave me during my time as President of the Society.

At the farewell to Geoffrey Tattersall I made mention of his background of coming from Manchester and queried whether he was a true red, or a light blue! As I come to the end of this farewell I have just to mention my one serious disappointment in you Sir.  Yes, shock, horror, I know you are a light blue – that’s a real shame.  But it does go on to show that you are clearly human, with human frailty, and that led you to that decision, but I’d say this to you: it’s never too late to cross the divide to the theatre of dreams where you will be made most welcome.

David, on leaving the Bench you return to the fold of the Bar where again you will be made most welcome. Although 15 years out does not sound too long a time, you will face a completely different world of practice from that which you left.  I know that I speak for everyone present in wishing you well for the future.

Deemster Corlett:

May I call upon Ms Jane Gray, President of the Isle of Man Law Society?


Address by Jane Gray President Isle of Man Law Society

Thank you.

Your Excellency, Your Honours, Your Worships, distinguished guests, Her Majesty’s Attorney General, members of the Bar, ladies and gentlemen.

We are here today to say farewell to His Honour Deemster Doyle, Her Majesty’s First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls. 

This is, thankfully, not a farewell forever but from his highly regarded judicial position within the Isle of Man Courts of Justice. 

On behalf of the members of the Manx Bar I say these few words to wish you, firstly, a well-deserved and restful break over the course of the next few months, and secondly, the best of luck with your future at Cains and back within the fold of the Manx Bar.  You are most welcome.

Since Your Honour became Her Majesty’s Second Deemster in 2003, primarily presiding over the Court of General Gaol Delivery, you have striven to ensure that the independence of the Manx Bar and the Isle of Man judiciary was maintained and upheld. 

To ensure the highest standards in the criminal courts Your Honour published your book, Manx Criminal Law and Procedure, in 2010, which began life as a set of notes for lectures delivered to trainee advocates, for the purpose of the Manx Bar exams. 

As Her Majesty’s First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls, Your Honour has worked hard to ensure there is an abundance of Manx precedent, taking guidance from all over the commonwealth to bolster Manx law, practice and procedure and advocates now have the ability in most areas to refer to local precedent in support of their clients’ position.  The jurisprudence of the Isle of Man has improved significantly under your watch.    

At Your Honour’s swearing in ceremony held on 20 December 2010, Judge of Appeal Tattersall QC impressed upon you the importance of the responsibility of the role of Her Majesty’s First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls. He said:

“I hope that you will reflect on and hold firmly in your heart the responsibilities you are undertaking.  Not only your responsibilities to this Island, to this community, to justice between all persons administered as indifferently as the herring backbone doth lie in the midst of the fish and to all those who work and use these Courts but as importantly that you reflect on and hold firmly in your heart your responsibilities for this Island, for this community and for justice between all people.  This is an enormous challenge …” 

In my respectful view and on behalf of the Manx Bar I am sure that view is shared by the entirety of our membership, you have taken your responsibilities seriously and you have never let them fall from the forefront of your mind.  

In all of Your Honour’s endeavours, at no time has the person on the Manx horse drawn tram been forgotten. 

At all times, the importance of access to justice and open justice has been at the forefront of Your Honour’s mind and the delivery of your judgments. 

The Manx Bar and the Island at large is a better and stronger jurisdiction as a consequence.

In addition to robust and sound judgments, Your Honour has given up a significant amount of your time educating our members, and also on a wider footing by delivering talks and lectures, not only in this jurisdiction but across the world, from school children to well-educated scholars and lawyers at the top of the legal sphere, whilst at the same time putting the Isle of Man firmly on the global legal map. 

The significant assistance given by the delivery of the Manx Bar lectures and presiding over mock courts has sought to improve the knowledge of law and courtroom advocacy of our trainee and junior advocates. 

The Manx Bar thanks you for all you have achieved and have done to improve the justice system on our Island and we look forward to welcoming you back as a Manx Advocate and a member of our Bar.

Thank you.


Deemster Corlett:

Thank you very much Ms Gray. I now call upon Deemster Doyle to reply.


Address by His Honour Deemster Doyle First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls

 Your Excellency, Your Honours, Your Worships, Mr President, Mr Speaker, Mr Attorney, President of the Law Society and other distinguished guests.

I am grateful for the very kind and over generous remarks that have been made today and I thank you all for turning up this afternoon to ‘see me off’.

Apparently, according to Rule 2.9 of the High Court Rules, the Long Vacation started on Tuesday and yet some of you have still made the effort to attend court 3, albeit from as close as Douglas, but many others from as far afield as Peel, as London and as Maxwell Road in Singapore.

Wherever you have come from, and whether you are on vacation or not, you are all very welcome to court 3 this afternoon.

Occasions like this inevitably attract a lot of hyperbole. In fact, I feel a little bit like I am at my own funeral.  The exaggerated praise is superficially pleasing but somewhat embarrassing as I know that my family and close friends will rightly take great delight in bringing me back down to earth shortly and sharply.  So I will now get on with my response.

It has been a real privilege to serve this wonderful Island as a full-time Deemster over the last 15 years.

I wish my successor all the very best for the future and I am comforted by the fact that the rule of law will be in safe hands. The vastly experienced, extremely intelligent and well regarded Deemster Corlett will bring fresh leadership and renewed energy to the judiciary, with the continuing support of his wife Angelina and their children James and Annabel. Deemster Corlett has dealt with a very heavy volume of family and civil cases and has already shown himself well able to deal with even the most complicated of cases.

It is correct that I have known Andrew since our student days and I will save those stories for another occasion. He had the good fortune of being articled to William Cain (and it’s good to see William here with us this afternoon) and I had the good fortune of being articled to Andrew’s brother John.  We have both grown up as advocates and Deemsters together and it gives me great pleasure to know that the First Deemster’s baton will soon securely be in Andrew’s hands.

Judge of Appeal Jeremy Storey has also greatly added to the justifiable confidence in the administration of justice on the Island and will no doubt continue to do so. His sense of propriety, his integrity, professionalism, legal knowledge, decision making, judgment writing and time management skills are immense.  The Judge of Appeal has been a real joy to sit with on appeals over the last 10 months and I have greatly benefited from my time with him.  Jeremy and his wife Carolyn are very civilised and sophisticated company.

They have really thrown themselves into many aspects of Manx life and on occasions they have taken the Doyles with them, but I have not yet jumped into the Irish Sea with Carolyn (that is unfinished business).

In addition to finalising at least five judgments this week and having to attend a judicial dinner last night, Jeremy found the time on Wednesday evening to reach the summit of Snaefell and witnessed, and no doubt consumed, the seven kingdoms. His enthusiasm, diligence and good humour know no bounds.  The Storeys, in their extensive adventures exploring the Island from its top to its bottom, have reminded me what a wonderful place this Island is.  I thank them for that and a lot more.

His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney and Lady Diana Gozney have also been sources of strong support and wise words. They have cheerfully put up with my company at Government House on many occasions.  Diana has frequently drawn the short straw and been required to sit next to me at formal dinners.  I expressly disassociate myself from the comments of Jonathan Sumption that “official entertaining does not bring together companions of choice” and I have to say Diana has hidden her boredom with my company very well, and I am grateful for that.  On a more serious note, His Excellency and Lady Gozney both really understand the importance of the rule of law and judicial independence and I thank them both for their essential continuing support to the judiciary.

I would also like to thank all my judicial colleagues (both full-time and part-time, both on and off-Island), our dedicated support staff and in particular the recently retired Chief Registrar Cregeen and my present PA Karen Bailey, the Manx Bar and in particular Attorney General Quinn, Solicitor General Wannenburgh, Jane Gray and other Presidents of the Law Society from time to time, and Vicki Unsworth who does a great deal of work on Law Society educational matters.

I also thank my close friends and, most importantly, my family (my long suffering wife Barbara [as she was described the other evening, Your Excellency] and my sons Charlie, George and Ferghus) and not forgetting … our dog Lincoln. I thank them for all their support during my time as a Deemster.

I have not got the words to express those thanks adequately.

As to the future, I shall continue to support the rule of law both locally and internationally and I greatly look forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead.

I fly off this well-worn perch with tears in my eyes, with joy, relief and thanks in my heart and with very positive thoughts as to the future in my mind.

Thank you.

Page last updated on 01 January 0001