Too long to reform Legal Profession Act says Brathwaite
ATTORNEY GENERAL Adriel Brathwaite is unhappy with the length of time being taken to reform this country’s Legal Profession Act.
Stating that he had dialogue with three Bar Presidents since he took up the post as Attorney General back in October 2010, Brathwaite, who is also the Minister of Home Affairs, indicated that he has given himself the “very tight deadline” that the new law will be enacted by the end of this year.
He made these comments on Thursday as he gave remarks at the opening of two lectures hosted by the Impact Justice Project and the Office of the Attorney General, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Acknowledging that the Bar had requested that he give them by the end of June to comment on the draft that was sent to them, Brathwaite noted that while he had said ‘yes,’ to their request, he really would like for the Bar to comment on policy and to let him know what they are proposing “makes sense.”
“I really don’t want you (the Bar) at this point in time to tell me that we have left out a comma here or that X word is spelt incorrectly, etc…There are only a couple of areas that we are reforming – the issue which we are going to discuss here now – Continuing Legal Professional Education, how do we do that? Does the Bar have the ability to do it themselves?” the Attorney General queried.
He further indicated that he suggested at a Council of Legal Education meeting last year, that it might be something that the Council may want to undertake so they had common standards across the region. Mr. Brathwaite cited as an example the Bar Association of Grenada, and noted that they may not have the numbers to do it or manage it.
He stated: “Can we have common standards? Jamaica has already done it. Do we go to Jamaica and say, “Well, let’s see what you have done?” and adopt what they have done, so, that if they have a programme in evidence, do we need to change what they have done or can we adopt it etc…That’s the kind of things that I want discussed.”
He also queried the use of indemnity insurance given the significant cost, and told his audience, which included members of the legal profession and various stakeholders, if we should require all attorneys to have indemnity insurance, when it was recognised that some attorneys would not be able to afford it.
“…Do we require that attorneys who have indemnity insurance be able to say to clients that they have the insurance and those who don’t have to disclose that they don’t have it? That is the kind of feedback that I want you to give me. So, I am putting you on notice that… I will take a new Legal Profession Act to Parliament towards the end of the year. That is my promise and pledge to you,” he asserted. (BGIS)