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)
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite
A BU blog Compensation Fund: Another Screw-up By the Barbados Bar Association highlighted another in a list of indiscretions by the Barbados Bar Association (BA). The big regret is that the traditional media refuses to honour its obligation to expose this club to the glare of the public. For years the who is who in the legal fraternity shuffle in and out of the President’s position all for the glory of achieving silk or the token of notoriety it offers. BU relishes the opportunity to ask Andrew Pilgrim QC what he accomplished during his tenure as BA president.
What is really irksome has been the lack of transparency and disclosure regarding lawyers who have had complaints lodged against them by the public. BU’s Plantation Deeds among many come to mind. It is obvious that the BA as a self regulating body is woefully inadequate – by its track record – to deal with the mounting concerns of the public regarding those bad apples in the legal barrel. Surely the time has come, if we want to be solution oriented, to change the governance structure as it relates to the legal profession. The Disciplinary Committee of the BA has done nothing to assuage the concerns of the public. The BA as represented in the Act has failed to regulate on a simple matter like who qualifies to be issued practicing certificates and what fee to receive from lawyers.
Vernon Smith QC
BU read the Barbados Today article with interest which outlined Vernon Smith QC reaction to being characterised a delinquent Barbados Bar Association (BA) member. The BU family is reminded of the list which was circulated by the BA and posted to BU in a blog by Caswell Franklyn – Defaulting Lawyers.
BU has posited a view that the Legal Profession Act contravenes the Constitution of Barbados concerning lawyers who opt not to pay BA fees and is therefore a nullity ab initio. Vernon Smith’s view has also been discussed. Now that he has come public in his defense it provides the opportunity for the BU family to explore the matter further.
Vernon Smith is quoted in the article as follows:
Former Court Registrar, Justice Maureen Crane-Scott
Former President of the BA, Senator Wilfred Abrahams
Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union
Former Chief Justice, Sir David Simmons
Update: The Nation newspaper has issued a public apology to Sir David Seale and Caswell Franklyn in today’s edition. It turns out that it was our own Caswell who penned the Guest Column and NOT Sir David
In a recent blog BU investigated the issue of attorneys who opt not to be members of the Barbados Bar Association (“BA”) on the basis that the Legal Profession Act contravenes the Constitution of Barbados and is, as a result, a nullity ab initio.
The almost unanimous opinions expressed by BU’s legal eagles was that the Legal Profession Act would be found in law to be a nullity ab initio.
BU has received a letter from attorney-at-law Wilfred A. Abrahams to the President of the Barbados Bar Association dated April 12, 2003 in which he gives notice that the attorneys of the chambers of which he is head, Aegis Chambers, intend to object to appearing in court with any attorney who has not submitted themselves to the Legal Profession Act and, inter alia, accusing these dissenting attorneys of committing an illegal act by practicing law – See Letter sent by Abrahams to the Bar – part 1 and Part 2
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Bajan News, Barbados Bar Association, Barbados Judiciary, Barbados Lawyers, Blogging, David Seale, David Simmons, Justice, Law,Crime, Maureen Crane-Scott, Wilfred Abrahams
Marston Gibson, Chief Justice (l) Andrew Pilgrim, President of Barbados Bar Association
BU has been provided with a copy of the letter dated April 4, 2013 by which the Chief Justice finally advised the new Queens Counsel that he had received the Letters Patent that the GG had executed and sent to the CJ some weeks previously, instructing that they be delivered. The GG had also officially informed the new Queens Counsel himself of their appointment, from which time they had the right to put the letters QC after their names. Do not expect Chief Justice Gibson to offer an explanation for the delay.
BU has also been provided with a legal opinion on the matter of mandatory membership of the Barbados Bar Association, on which it has been argued, in essence, that there is a requirement that attorneys who are certified to practice law in Barbados must also be members of the Barbados Bar Association. BU’s legal opinion states that, as such an Act breaches the Constitution, it is a nullity ab initio, as indeed is any law which breaches the Constitution. Otherwise, the Constitution, which requires a two third majority of the House to change it, would be held hostage to the much lower standard of a simple act of parliament, which requires merely a majority. This would compromise the rights of Bajans and infringe their liberties. Pursued, it could also potentially lead away from democracy to dictatorship.
Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union
Recently, I heard that the Bar association had published a list of attorneys-at-law who did not pay their dues to the association, as required by law. At first, I was a bit sceptical but all doubts have been removed when I saw a story in the Saturday Sun of April 6, 2013 to that effect.
Surprisingly, the list appeared in my Inbox: it contained the names of 75 lawyers. The whole affair piqued my interest, so I set about to find out the reason for the omission of so many lawyers. The reasons ranged from: conscientious objection, no longer practising, inadvertence to plain just being cheap. I have examined the case for the conscientious objectors, and quite frankly, I believe that by not paying their dues, they have shown utter disrespect for the law that they are sworn to uphold.
Andrew Pilgrim, President of the Barbados Bar Association
… we decided to approach Andrew Pilgrim, well known dramatist and President of the Bar Association for his view…
The above was extracted from an article posted by Ian Bourne on his website – President of the Barbados Bar Association sees special Unit for Raul Garcia as Tax Inefficient – Let the former Convict live and work here!. What snagged the attention of BU was not the substantive issue highlighted by the article but the way Andrew Pilgrim was introduced. Whether Bourne realized, it he reminded BU of a growing concern we have about Andrew Pilgrim and his role as President of the Bar Association. To add to the rub BU got sight of a document which features Pilgrim in an upcoming TV-series.
BU is fully supportive of the Arts and our concern should not be seen as being against The Soap Opera Project. We wish the Caribbean Film Festival all the success. BU has been an advocate for this government to get more aggressive in its effort to support the cultural and creative sector. BU continues to monitor the passage of the Cultural Industries Bill and will not attempt to muddy the waters at this stage although we remain agitated at the agendas being played out.