A Moribund Entity that is the Barbados Bar Association

Barry Gale QC, President of the BA

Barry Gale QC, President of the BA

When Andrew Pilgrim took up the post of President of the Barbados Bar Association, BU was very optimistic that in tandem with newly appointed CJ Gibson, some efficiency would have been achieved in our court system. We were wrong. To compound the perception that the Bar is a moribund entity it has been three months since Barry Gale QC took the baton from Pilgrim and the public is none the wiser about progress made by the Bar during his tenure.

Several reasons are listed on the Barbados Bar Association website why it was established under the Barbados Bar Association Act of 1940. Of the 27 reasons given a few should be of interest to Barbadians if only because they are laudable or should that be laughable:

Related Link: Non Contentious Fees (The Legal Profession Act Cap. 370A)

  • To support and protect the character, status and interest of the Legal Profession
  • To promote honorable practice, and settle disputed points in practice;
  • To settle questions of professional conduct, discipline and etiquette;
  • To further good relations and understanding between the Bar and the public;

On the Bar website can be found the LEGAL PROFESSION CODE OF ETHICS 1988 which again makes one question if the Bar is aware of the lofty ideals which are promoted in the document. For example:

(2) An attorney-at-law shall maintain his integrity and the honour and dignity of the legal profession and of his own standing as a member of it and shall encourage other attorneys-at-law to act similarly both in the practice of his profession and in his private life and shall refrain from conduct which is detrimental to the profession or which may tend to discredit it.

One wonders if the act of mooning by a Queens Counsel within the precinct of the court in the presence of a Madam Justice et al violated the Bar’s legal profession code of conduct. And if so what is Barry Gale QC and his men going to do about it. What is evident is that the Bar talks a good talk but it is in the execution which like many they are failing.

One is left to conclude that the Bar Association could care less about its public relations and disciplining of its members. The charade continues.

37 responses to “A Moribund Entity that is the Barbados Bar Association

  1. The mooning by Alair is a minor thing. There are other far more important issues facing Barry, that he, like his predecessors, seems intent on avoiding.

    1. The status of the BA to insist that attorneys be a member of it, in flagrant contravention of the Constitution. That is the most important.

    2. What about the Compensation Fund out of which not one cent of compensation has been paid, but which has instead been used to advertise the estates of deceased attorneys?

    3. And further on the subject of the Compensation Fund, what is the position regarding failure of mandatory payment of $200 per annum via the Registrar to the Compensation Fund by attorneys employed by the Government, creating a shortfall? Why have these people been issued practice certificates?

    Instead of the matters that really affect the taxpayers, we have a “code of ethics” largely ungramatical and mis-spelled, in which the BA seeks to exercise “big brother” control over the private lives of attorneys and even sets itself up as the fashion police.

    Alair “Botsy” Shepherd only lost out to Barry Gale by about two or three votes. He clearly has the support of those who bother to attend the BA’s AGM. And that means that he has the support of a Disciplinary Committee, which, in defiance of law and statute, is ELECTED and not APPOINTED – another instance of illegal practice on the part of these so-called attorneys of the BA. So therefore do you seriously expect the Disciplinary Committee to be able to even achieve a quorum to hear a complaint against Alair, far less vote to find him culpable? Dream on!!!!!

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  2. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926-2013 AND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS

    President of the BAR is just another title for them to talk and carry.It dont seem to be a working post for the People, Looking out as their Gate Keeper is their MISSION .The cases at the BAR are Back up as long as the cases BACK up in the Court for years.
    If the BAR had a real court you will have much less Lawyers , where very few would reach QC or Sir Level and would have very old Judges for new would make it to that level.
    People must learn to boycott bad lawyers , for they don’t care about if they win or loose but their bottom line at the end of the years , Making money seem to the way they base their suck- cess.

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  3. @Amused

    BU’s example shows the inability of the BA to make decisions. You examples which BU has highlighted the same.

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  4. Good mooning amused ….Why do you think that Alairs unflattering behavior of mooning a Judge that being a female judge was a minor thing. not even taking race into consideration. Alair lack of respect cannot and should not be treated as minor if not only from an individual point of view as one looking from the outside in without having a dog in this on going fight concerning the matters of right or wrong within the legal system. Alairs behavior causes one to pause about his mental stability and whether or not he is capable of performing his duties in a legal and professional manner one that does not obscure or degrades or deteriorates the standards and rules of the legal profession;
    putting all that into context one must be judged accordingly and justice should be served according to rules and standards. Alair did the opposite not only by breaking the rules but also made mockery of the system on the day he made an oath which he swore that he would protect and uphold dutifully according to the rules of governance there within , which in this case he did not.
    Having gotten the Alair debacle off my chest. I would state that a system which have been broken for decades cannot be FIXED overnight just because a NEW FACE has been put in place especially if that face has been living with in the system for an extended period of time that person becomes diseased and corrupted and therefore is ineffective . There is a theory called “instituionalised ” which lives and breeds in the hearts of all and becomes the norm within “said ” system YOURS included the one YOU are so quick to criticize. However Your inabilty to say Alair was wrong and should be dealt with accordingly shows that you too have accepted the Norms within the system as you blindly dismiss the actions of Alair, .

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  5. The Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Association exists only because a statute says that one should exist. It is totally useless. When was the last time that it completed a case against an attorney-at-law before its mandate ran out and the case had to be restarted under a differently constituted committee.

    In order to make sense, the committee should have a minimum existence of three years; there should be lay people included in its membership; and it certainly should not be elected from among those who attend some meeting of the bar. I remember some time ago, a friend of mine made a complaint against a lawyer, that lawyer realising that he could not get away, ran and became the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee. The case was never heard of again.

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  6. Here is a test, who is the PRO of the BA?

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  7. amused Case and POINT read Caswell submission. The system is corrupt . No one that enters come out clean , it needs to be sanitized . that means breaking up and starting anew, It is like putting new wine in old bottles. DEADLY !.

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  8. The non contentious fees have been updated to the blog.

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  9. old onion bags

    What ever became of the boi Ross……like BU has seen right thru him like a JuC bottle red koolaid n all….Hey speakin of Caswell…. we still await your speleology on the exchequer knight from Alibabas hideout….just had to aire my mout…LOL

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  10. Old Onions..

    Silly old bugger…just be patient and wait.

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  11. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926-2013 AND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS

    David | July 21, 2013 at 9:56 AM |

    Here is a test, who is the PRO of the BA?@

    crooks taking turns with delays and lies as they stand now .. Hello NO
    Clean it up and run by Law and Rules , Yes

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  12. Amused wrote
    “in flagrant contravention of the Constitution”
    “the Compensation Fund out of which not one cent of compensation has been paid,”
    ” failure of mandatory payment of $200 ”

    Given the above the Bar Association is an Association akin to my fishing buddies in Barbados and Canada.
    Our “fishing” association has no rules or regulations but an understanding to catch fish when yuh feel like it an roast fish an drink likka if an when yuh feel like it.

    The difference between us an them is that we do catch fish with regularity thereby we fulfill our imaginary mandate while they appear to ignore theirs.

    Note that I am not fishing at the moment because I have been watching West Indies vs Pakistan but now de rain come down so in the words of the late great “Shilling” I will have to “decide de decision” whether to fish or wait for the rain in St.Lucia to stop.

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  13. And here is the question even Amused is scared to answer.

    How can any self respecting lawyers feel pride in the legal profession when the BA, of which they all are suppose to be members (contentious though it maybe), continues to perform so poorly.

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  14. David most of the self respecting lawyers probably ignore the BA because they own or work for honest profitable Law firms.

    The Bar association is for legal plebs.

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  15. Any comments on the below? It seems that non contentious fees have escaped breach of the Fair Competition Act because they are set in statute? One wonders if the the changes which the AG has hinted to be brought to parliament soon involves an amendment to the Legal profession Act 1997.

    Allegation: Fee Setting – Professional Associations (Attorneys-at-Law) In 2007, the Commission began a follow-up inquiry into fee setting in the professions focusing especially on the schedule of legal fees for non-contentious matters.  
    The Commission had previously found that mandatory fees set by professional associations were in breach of the Fair Competition Act. However it stopped short of making the same finding in regard to non-contentious fees because they were set in statute. The Commission however determined that the schedule of legal fees for attorneys at law, represented a conflict with the principles of fair and open competition as advocated in the Fair Competition Act.
    The Commission therefore has formally recommended that an amendment be made to the Legal Profession Act 1997, so that the fees charged for non-contentious matters can be recognised as being provided for reference only, and attorneys wishing to charge above or below these fees, being able to do so without reprisal.
    This will resolve the conflict between the two statutes, and should allow for some competition in the legal profession.
    See Fee Setting in the Professions II:  Follow-up Report. [pdf]
    Closed July 2008

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  16. Old Onions

    I count five contributors to this blog excluding David, you and me. You and I offer just a little less than Hants so I won’t count us. Do you agree with me that maybe the topic is a little ‘stale’? Well, I’m still waiting and watching.

    Did you notice that Amused loftily dismisses the grammar and spelling of the Code of Ethics? Yet, you know, I noticed that on a recent post he used the word ‘axed’ as in “I axed him what he meant.” Now I must say that that did make me wonder.

    Don’t forget to get your proper rest.

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  17. @David | July 21, 2013 at 6:08 PM |

    Apologies. I was looking after the “grands” yesterday and they kept me busy.

    “And here is the question even Amused is scared to answer.”

    Not at all. I note that BU reported the percentage of attendance at the last AGM of the BA. Woeful!!! BU has also reported (as has most of the press) the ever increasing numbers of counsel who refuse to join the BA.

    I think therefore that these in and of themselves answer the question you axed.

    I wonder, David, if you would clarify if I am correct that the proof of the BU pudding lies, not in the number of people who comment on reports, but in the number of people who read said reports? Also, do you agree that the strength of BU lies in bringing and KEEPING before the public, matters that affect it and that (before the blogs and BU) would never have seen the light of day? In other words, is it (as it seems) a grave error for our public servants to think that when a story breaks, all they have to do is to lie low until it washes over……..because it will not wash over and they can expect it to be constantly revisited, until something is done about it? Two cases in point that seem to suggest this are the CoP and Registrar.

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  18. @Amused

    It was a tongue in check challenge of course.

    Sometimes BU will craft a blog directed to an audience of very few.

    Let us face it, some people prefer to detract from the cause because they want to remain true foot soldiers to the legal ‘Reich’.

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  19. robert ross

    As my dear colleague Joseph Goebbels might have said on the idea of “crafting a blog” …..

    ‘Baby, you got that right’

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  20. @Ross

    Remain on the sideline and take potshots. Even when there is consensus that the sky is falling. Are you a paling cock?

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  21. robert ross

    Yes I do see….”meanwhile the charade continues”…….

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  22. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/gulp-teen-boys-inhale-homemade-blowdarts-docs-warn-6C10679997

    “Teenage boys messing around with homemade blowguns are showing up in some emergency rooms after accidentally sucking the needle-tipped darts down their windpipes, doctors say.

    No one knows how many mishaps may have occurred, but researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, say they got worried after seeing three 14- and 15-year-olds in three months with the devices stuck in their throats.

    “I find it concerning that this is becoming an emerging hazard,” said Dr. Kris Jatana, an expert in removing foreign bodies from airways. “Typically we see these aspiration events in children younger than 4.”

    The problem seems to spring from a proliferation of more than 20 Internet sites that describe how to make the guns from household objects like sewing needles and shoelaces, said Jatana, writing in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The internet while being a power for good can make big able teens (adults too??) behave like 4 year olds!!

    Depends on the contents and the thinking/crafting that goes into the content.

    Most human undertakings with the propensity to do evil have Codes of Ethics.

    Even in journalism there is a code of ethics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalism_ethics_and_standards

    …. just like the BAR Association.

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  23. @ David
    Rest assured, Ross is more of a female rabbit than a paling cock… :)

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  24. robert ross

    Bush Tea…

    Is that the best you can do? You’re funny…poor old soul..

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  25. robert ross

    But since I’ve got nothing better to do…

    David….on “detracting from the cause”

    But what IS the cause? Is it reform? Or revolution? What? If the former, reform how, by doing what? If the latter, what do you put in place of what is? Amused? Bush Tea? A ‘new man’? Find me one.

    As for this post, you attack the BA. Easy to do I agree. BUT let’s look at it more closely.

    18 months or so ago the then President, AP, and his Committee put forward a list of proposals for reform to the CJ at a time when BU through Amused’s mouth was signaling awe and wonder that this great man had come to save us. The CJ did nothing for months. SO AP got irritated. The response to that was a leaked email from the CJ in which he deflected attention from himself by attacking grasping lawyers. BU LOVED IT – and so deflected attention from its own duty to look closely at what the BA was trying to do. It’s all there on the record. How then can you condemn the Bar Association? Much better to say with all the truth you can muster – ‘Yes, we got it wrong. We do see now that the BA WAS doing something – very minor things it’s true – but still something. It was a beginning.’

    You might even have looked closely at the BA’s suggestions and come up with some of your own. But not a word of any use – other than the usual round of slagging off. Sorry – I do not take you seriously. It’s easy to slag people off – you do it on here whenever someone offends you and, sure, this is your world – such as it is. As with the contributions to this post, none of them take us anywhere whether they amount to a “consensus” or not. Hypocrisy is still hypocrisy though graced with that title.

    Then you criticize the BA for not dealing with Shepherd. Well – deal with him. Lodge a complaint. To attack the BA for not dealing with a complaint it hasn’t had is plain dumb.

    But before you make your complaint, consider this. You attack the judges. OK. But what was Shepherd doing? I have no special brief for him – but WHAT he did at a judge who is invariably late had a significance which goes much, much further than the mere mouthings on posts like this. By which I mean – his ass was a symbol which said ‘no, enough’ to authority where there was good cause. It was a revolutionary gesture and one, whether he had thought about it or not, which put him at risk. It takes guts to do that, guts to pull two fingers against authority wherever ‘authority’ is to be found – even the ‘authority’ of David in his many guises. How then can you condemn him, or the BA, when what he did was precisely compatible with the line you take about our judges?? How can you demand the BA takes action against him, or fault them for not doing so unilaterally? Sheer hypocrisy. But, as I say, make your complaint. You can, you know. Meanwhile BE the song you say you sing and stand for.

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  26. old onion bags

    @ Ross
    stupessss……..GO SACK !

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  27. @Ross

    We are all entitled to a rant from time to time.

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  28. robert ross

    Old Onions

    Oh..are you up? Great. Now don’t try to do too much today.

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  29. Man Ross tek it easy and go and fire a grog or something do…!

    If the system is shot what the hell do you expect BU to do?
    It is not BU’s role to FIX these problems…..merely to HIGHLIGHT them.
    In fact BU is doing us a FAVOR by taking the time to highlight these weaknesses. In BU’s absence we would continue to be shafted while insiders like you laughed all the way to the bank…

    Ya miss that nuh….? :)

    It is lackies (like you?) who got FREE education at our expense, and who collect monthly LOTTO size pay cheques that OWE it to us to produce results….

    About ALAIR ….you also talking shiite….AS was a BU hero….at least he was a Bushie hero… :)

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  30. @Bushie. Agreed. The great strength of BU and its family, of which I am most proudly (hopefully) one, lies in its commitment to the country, but most importantly its ability to admit to error. I admitted error on the appointment of the CJ, BUT not because of the surround to his appointment, but because of his lamentable subsequent performance as CJ. So I was wrong ON THE BASIS I HAVE STATED. So what? I know of one attorney/candidate who sued on the basis of lack of proper notice of general election on the most frivolous and vexatious grounds – and lost. History does not reveal if he paid the costs ordered against him or not. Perchance one of the “brethren” (and I use the word “brethren” in its loosest possible sense in relation to that (to quote Jeff’s word) TWIT) can shed some light on the issue. “Damned Tosser”, as the Brits might call him.

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  31. robert ross

    LOL…you people are funny. “Tossers” is very apt.

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  32. Hiring a lawyer is always scary since you know large sums may be involved yet sometimes you just have to, for one reason or another. Doing it in Barbados is like chucking all you own into a blue barrel and sending off with no insurance. I’ve worked in the legal profession for many years in the UK and just cannot believe what goes on here. It’s become a joke. Talk about Jarndyce! The Barbados legal system has become an international joke fest. A lawyer who has been sitting on clients’ remuneration from a court case in an insurance claim worth millions suddenly becomes a QC with a self-declared mandate to” stop law firms hanging on to the pay-out for over a year”. Yet she was doing that very same thing for years. The bull is not only mind-boggling, just normal.
    We have all heard about the land scams etc. So that’s it then for the rule of law in Barbados. This island is turning into a banana republic – without any bananas – to the point where one cannot seek legal recourse since the profession is totally corrupt. Those clean lawyers out there if there are any, I apologise. You are a tiny few.

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  33. @ Victor
    “Those clean lawyers out there if there are any, I apologise. You are a tiny few.”
    ************
    Welcome to Barbados Vic.
    …we estimate that you may be able to find three clean ones….(but not if you dig tooooo deeply… :) )

    There are all a bunch of brass bowl crooks / idiots …..and some are so daft that they actually think that this is OK …..right Ross?

    …even the one of whom Ross can say “works hard” … she is clearly operating two levels above her true level of competence. …A good magistrate at best.

    It requires wisdom to be a judge……it is not just about having a police escort and a Mercedes….

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  34. @Bushie. Well said. I completely agree. And you will be pleased to hear that there are a few excellent and very moral lawyers in Barbados. A few. It takes great intestinal fortitude to remain true to the ethics one had coming into the practice of law – unfortunately, few make it.

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  35. @ Those who either are lawyers or have friends that are lawyers

    Disclaimer, For those of you who are HONEST lawyers the remarks hereinafter tendered are not directed at the 100 of you globally!!!

    For the rest I will say this.

    As you get older, SOMETIMES, AND I REPEAT, SOMETIMES you start to understand things about this thing called life.

    SOMETIMES.

    Like a flash of genius, it makes sense, and a(n) Eureka moment comes to you bringing some clarity on the subject matter which in this case in about the Barbados Bar Association.

    I think that i have had such a moment after all these years of dealing with what i shall introduce to you all as “The Brotherhood of the Cuba!!

    Now the “cuba” referenced heretofore in the aforesaid fraternity sentence, is not to be confused with the island state of Cuba i speak to you of the bird called the cuba

    The Cuba, i refer to in the clause above is a carrion, flesh eating bird

    “Carrion birds are large, carnivorous, scavenger birds. Other species include buzzards, rocs, condors, vultures, and swoops. They usually have featherless heads and broad, slow-flapping wingspans (or are bald like Serrao and his wig, or are in the habit of skinning their pooches at other carrion, or can ascend to becoming Prime Ministers)

    So that this post remains short, i will not comment on the genus Cuba Politicus but will confine this submission to the genus cuba lawerensi.

    Carrion birds are sometimes found lurking about the bones of dead beasts and ill-managed graveyards, car accidents, probate estates, insurance payouts, wills, moneys held in escrow for the sale of lands etc, etc

    My madam’s brother, from her step father’s ** side, (dat is complicated so we gine leave it dey), is a lawyer/cuba. He doan speak to me for many reasons but mainly because I does speak out gainst tings and injustice also a synonym for lawyer

    All over the world there are specimens of this genus cuba lawerensi who join together in various chapters and covens called bars etc, and in Barbados, ours is called the Barbados Bar Association.

    Again some confusion arises as to whether the Bar in question is a drinking establishment like a pub, and while there are similarities, being that denizens of both imbibe, the BBA become drunk on OTHER peoples money, I did not say Ezra Alleyne, the two bars are supposedly different.

    Unfortunately, the madam is starting to suspect that i cannot be up to no good using the computer (and the IPad, yes Casswell i have one too) as frequently as i do.

    She has taken to regularly calling me to do “important” things around the house, like hold the dustpan and open the jam bottles, you know, man stuff.

    That has arisen because Sis Headley informed her that *** and *** two holier than thou saints from the seats perilous (dem is seats that only the “Washed in the Blood” can sit in) getting a divorce cause it appear that ** was cavorting wid a young ting like Minister ** up in de Pine. No not ***, he woman is not in de Pine, de Minister *** young ting woman in de Pine.

    And why de madam ent want me pun de cuntputer too much is becausing *** was talking to de woman in a “chat room”. I ent unnerstan dat chat room two much but Sis Headley say dat *** come in and find he in front uh de web camera naked with de “relative uh my goadies dem” shaking (a nex word fuh whu Fumble and Sincliar doing to de Bajan populace) skaking at de young ting, so she keeping a close eye pun me now.

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  36. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926-2013 AND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS

    A good lawyer in Barbados is not base on how many cases S/he wins , but by how much money they makes ,to look and live rich.
    lawyers need not be on any jury , lord help Barbados.
    like ROSEWOOD AND THE MASONS.. LET HIM GO SO THE CAN BURN down the town ,JUST TO COVER UP their ACTIONS/

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  37. alair shepherd is a buffoon . some one referred to him as a genius??….they gotta be retarded as well

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