Govt acts to stop thieving lawyers

The Freundel Stuart Administration is preparing to crack down on lawyers who steal from their clients.

Draft amendments to the Legal Profession Act have been circulated to the Bar Association of Barbados with new provisions to protect clients from being deprived of their money or property.

If approved, the changes will give the Bar the authority to act in certain circumstances.

Section 16A (1) will now say: “In order to protect clients against loss of money or property held on their behalf by an attorney-at-law, the Bar Association shall have power, upon an order of a Judge to (a) take possession of any relevant documents related to the money or property of such clients.”

The draft, a copy of which has been obtained by Barbados TODAY, will also give the Bar power to manage the account of such clients. A Judge may also make an order under subsection (1) where a lawyer has been incarcerated, cannot be located after six months or is incapable of effectively performing his legal functions due to an infirmity of body or mind or any other cause.

Over the past several years, a number of lawyers have been convicted and/or disbarred for robbing their clients. Among them was Therold Fields who was disbarred in April 2013 after being charged with stealing three sums of money from Patricia Simpson of London over a two-year period. The Court of Appeal also ordered him to repay $601,000.

The proposed amendments also require attorneys to be more accountable with regards to their finances. If the law is approved by Parliament, lawyers will have to deliver to the secretary of the Bar an accountant’s report in respect of each financial year. Furthermore, they cannot employ just about any accountant; the amended legislation mandates the attorneys to use a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados. Any attorney who deems it unnecessary or impractical to submit an accountant’s report must make a declaration on a special form, according to the proposed Act.

The attorney must also produce to the accountant all books, records and accounts required to be kept by him, as well as all files or other documents connected with or related to, or explaining anything in those books, records and accounts.  Lawyers will also be allowed to establish their own professional companies.  The new Act also re-enforces the contentious requirement of an annual registration fee in order to practice law in Barbados.

7 Responses to Govt acts to stop thieving lawyers

  1. Alex Alleyne March 16, 2016 at 4:49 am

    LOL , LOL, LOL , LOL.
    Who going to watch the watchman.

  2. Lawrence Griffith
    Lawrence Griffith March 16, 2016 at 5:16 am

    That’s NO way far good enough for a democratic society. No where in the world can you give the bar association the power to govern and regulates itself. Thought out history is been proven not to work having self regulations boards. That’s the same as asking perpetrators to administer their own punishment. Would the people accept that in our justice system? Does the people gets justice when the police investigates itself? Why should the people settle for less than an the police investigating criminal activity. What about everyone is equal in for the law? This shows clearly how the establishment power corrupts the justice system..

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine March 16, 2016 at 5:40 am

      Freundel Stuart is a lawyer. The law fraternity must continue to protect its own. Did you not see that played out in the Michael Carrington matter?

  3. Sunshine Sunny Shine March 16, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Are you kidding! It is better to not do anything than to appear like you doing something when the something that you want others to believe you are doing is really just nothing. Freundel Stuart made it known and clear that two persons implicated in a forensic report on the CLICO matter were outstanding sons of the soil t deserving of accolades and praise, In referencing Leroy Parris, the Prime Minister of Barbados said that he is his friend. In referencing the former Prime Minister, he esteemed him and shower him with praise for service he considered to be all yeoman. Mr. Stuart instead of addressing the findings of the report turn his attention to all those persons who may have bought real estate from the same CLICO. He felt it prudent to inform all those buyers of the list that he had without once addressing the matter of the 3.3 million that implicated the CLICO boss and former Prime Minister in wrongdoing. Now he wants to stop thieving lawyers. Ironic if not irony.

  4. Tony Webster March 16, 2016 at 6:49 am

    WOW! This “bush lawyer” has just two items, for the new draft bill:-
    1. It will be a criminal offense, for any attorney at law, to keep their client’s funds in any bank account, or wallet, or cash-tin, other than a bank account one which is captioned “CLIENTS ACCOUNT”, into which ONLY CLIENTs funds shall be deposited. Under no circumstances, shall wirhdrawals be made from such accounts, OTHER than to pay such funds to their rightful owner…. within one month of their being received by the said fiduciary custodian depositing them in the bank.
    2. In addition to any hanky-panky with the use , or mis-use of CLIENT’S FUND’S be a CRIMINAL offense, a prosecution of any smart-ass lawyer….may be commenced by (a) any member of the constabulory or (b) any Justice of The Peace, © the Auditor-General, (d) any member of Parliament, (e) any member of the Senate (f) Any Justice of The Peace (g) Minister of religion.

    This will cure this problem immediately. Unfortunately, yooman beings beings what we are, such pillars of financial rectitude, will, like some pillars of political chicannery, immediately invent some other means of gaining great wealth, under very dubious circumstances.

    Verily, and Q.E.D.
    PS: do NOT, under any circumstances, hold your breath waiting for this new Act to see the shining light of day.

  5. jrsmith March 16, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Give this a chance people, play along its news today but history tomorrow. The Priminister has now put himself in line to be ridicule , let honesty prevail, watch this space..

  6. Sue Donym March 16, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Having observed lawyers and stories of lawyers I can easily see how this provision which would allow other lawyers to “take possession of any relevant documents related to the money or property of such clients.” could be used by lawyers against clients. Such documents could, like files and money disappear…

    By the way @Tony Webster, glad you declared that you are a bush lawyer because I saw some doublespeak: (b) and (f) look very similar. LOL.


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