Businessman voices concern about lawyers holding money for clients
Local businessman and creative marketing director of Fun and Sun Publishing Inc., Robert Pitcher wants Government and the legal fraternity to take a leaf out of the books of their North American counterparts – more specifically Canada – as it relates to laywers holding money for clients.
“In Barbados . . . the law does not cover the client. It allows the lawyer to be free to take money, place it in a clients’ account, accumulate the interest which he keeps and not give to the client, and if at any time he needs to use the client’s money in his account, he can do so and when they clients need their money, they cannot get it,” Pitcher told the media this morning.
“In Canada, when a client makes a deposit . . . the lawyer has to, at the end of every month, report the person’s name who he collected the money for. The money is placed in trust and the interest on the money in the bank doesn’t go to the lawyer but to the client.”
He insisted that Government had to take steps to protect its citizens.
Pitcher believes a model similar to the one used in Canada could prevent some heartache for clients.
Relating his experience of being “burnt” by a lawyer, he said: “A couple years ago . . . a lawyer collected money on my behalf and . . . is now disbarred and I am still out of pocket.”
“We need to ask this Government to take the law even a step further . . . the law society must be responsible for each lawyer reporting, at the ending of very month, clients’ funds that they are holding in trust,” he insisted.
“[And] instead of the money being placed in whatever commercial bank that the lawyer is using as a clients’ account, it should be placed in the Central Bank [of Barbados] where any and everybody can see it.”