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Move by Chief Justice to penalize delinquent lawyers

by Romario Barker


Delinquent lawyers who have failed to pay their annual subscriptions to the Barbados Bar Association stand to be penalized.

Barbados TODAY has obtained a letter issued by Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, dated June 19, to Bar president Barry Gale, QC, indicating that those attorneys may be barred from practising and they will not be allowed to have an audience before the court in keeping with the law.

“ . . . I will instruct the Registrar [Acting] Mrs Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell to inform the attorneys-at-law listed in your letter that their practising certificates are not valid in the absence of the Bar Association’s subscription and direct them to return those practising certificates as soon as possible,” the Chief Justice said in his letter.

Sir Marston was responding to correspondence sent by Gale identifying attorneys-at-law who had failed to pay.

When Barbados TODAY contacted Gale he declined to comment, saying he would speak to the matter after the association had held its annual general meeting on Saturday.

The Chief Justice also informed the president of the Bar of his intentions to send letters to each Justice of Appeal, as well as High Court justices and magistrates informing them that those attorneys had no right of any audience before the court.

“I note that Section 10(1) (c) of the Legal Profession Act Cap. 370A provides that every person whose name is entered on the roll has the right of audience before the court. However, Section (10) (2) also provides that no person should practise law unless he has a practising certificate. In addition, Section 45 (3) provides that a practising certificate should not be issued to an attorney-at-law until the annual subscription required by Section 44 of the act has been paid.”

The issue is expected to get attention at the Bar Association’s meeting this week.

Ahead of the talks, the Bar president has written a strong letter to the legal fraternity asking members to turn out to revive the dying association.

“Our very profession is being threatened, by a justice system which is in crisis, and Government agencies, some of whom, do not deliver the required level of service to make Barbados an attractive jurisdictioon. The BBA, we, you need to try and make a difference to remedy these problems, as without resolution, the whole economy will suffer, we will suffer, whether we practice in the courts or not.”

“. . . At the end of the day, it is our association, and it is there to protect our profession and ultimately our livelihood, and unless we all support it, it will fail,” Gale warned.


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