Time for citizen oversight and control of lawyers

Crooked lawyer David Bryan turns from camera at court

Formerly crooked lawyer David Bryan turns from camera at court

Thieving lawyers shouldn’t be in charge of themselves

by Passin thru

Lawyers are one of the few groups in our society who get to set their own rules and are allowed to discipline their own wayward children without being accountable to anyone except themselves.

Now the lawyers are having a fight over paying dues to the Barbados Bar Association. You might remember this is the same Barbados Bar Association that usually lets thieving lawyers repay stolen money to not go to jail. Regular thieves don’t usually get such a deal in the courts!

And when citizens dare mention how many crooked lawyers there are, the Barbados Bar Association blames the victims – the public – for choosing crooked lawyers “at random”!

“If the lawyers don’t respect their own Bar Association enough to pay fees, then it’s time for the citizens to step in.”

I’d call upon Parliament to set up a citizens’ committee to provide oversight and discipline to lawyers, but too many of the MPs are lawyers themselves so the likelihood of change is about the square root of zero.

What an incestuous bunch they are and it’s all out of control at the moment.

Over the High Court

A High Court judge will have to determine whether lawyers are obligated to pay annual fees to the Barbados Bar Association to practise.

The association’s council has decided to take the matter to court because many attorneys at law refuse to pay the fees, but are still working.

Lawyers have to remain financially up to date to practise law as mandated by the 1973 Legal Profession Act.

President of the Bar Association, Andrew Pilgrim, said it would apply to the Supreme Court within the next few days for a “declaratory judgment”.

A recent release by the Bar Association revealed that more than 50 attorneys still aren’t up to date on their bar fees, inclusive of a few who are to become Queen’s Counsel

“Our only concern is that so many lawyers still haven’t paid their fees,” Pilgrim told the MIDWEEK NATION.


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

14 responses to “Time for citizen oversight and control of lawyers

  1. St George's Dragon

    In the UK, solicitors are governed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority which is overseen by a 15 member board – 7 solicitors and 8 lay people.
    Barristers have the Bar Standards Board which is again 7 legal people and 8 lay.
    If we want to do it, there are models around the place which would be easy to review and base something on.
    Just think, if we did it, we could have a body like the Public Accounts Committee which does nothing. Sorry, wrong one. Like the Auditor General who does good work but has no teeth. Sorry, wrong again. Anyway, [insert name of body in Barbados which is really good and gets things done].

  2. glynnUK

    The whole issue of VAT on lawyers subscriptions needs to be clarified. If lawyers can finally establish if VAT should be payable on their Bar fees, it might go a long way to clearing the unpaid fee backlog as currently, as I understand it, cheques have been sent for the fees only to be returned because they did not include the VAT. Some lawyers maintain that there is no VAT due and point to established VAT case law. Another grey area to clear up.


    What is the Mission of the BAR?
    It seems the Main issue is to get BAR fees ,, more like BAR flies.
    What are the fees to do ? Is it to let Persons seeking a true and clean or good lawyer from the other non clean lawyers ? What is the Standard of good standing? Pay your fees and you are in good standing even if you are a crook lawyer? To fool the people with the word GOOD standing?
    We need to know who is the lawyers in GOOD standing with the clients .So we know who to call if a lawyer is needed and not to call a crook hiding with the Good Lawyers.
    Paying your BAR bill after drinking does not mean you in good standing, by now you have to be drunk.

  4. Lawyers in Barbados (and other Caribbean islands for that matter) have for too long been a law unto themselves. Unfortunately, too many clients have treated lawyers as though they sat at God’s right hand, so much so that far too many lawyers actually believe this to be the case. From my experience of dealing with attorneys in the Caribbean, who often ‘boast’ about having qualified in the UK, many would have been struck off had they chosen to practice over here.

    Many lawyers in the Caribbean charge exorbitant fees, provide very little or no client care at all, leave files in ‘sleep mode’ and generally create more stress for clients than the legal matters for which their services have been retained in the first instance.

    The time has come for there to be a MAJOR clean up of the legal profession in the Caribbean generally, and I can see that this will happen sooner rather than later. There is a new breed of client coming up who, unlike their parents, do not accept that a law degree qualifies the holder to do as they please in their profession. As they say in Jamaica, “Free paper soon bun”.

  5. Well Well

    I hope that also includes the lawyers who never, ever joined the Bar Association…………..but have been practicing in Barbados for decades……….

  6. 5

    So if you pay your fee’s you are an honest Laywer !!! Why we in Barbados in particular scared to open your mouth and speak the Truth.
    Have you ever listen to a call in program in the USA and listen to how they tare apart anyone from the President back down.

  7. Pieter Pieper

    @ Maureen Smith
    Your observations and comments re “lawyers in Barbados (and other Caribbean islands for that matter)” are indeed very correct.
    You will note that while complaints against lawyers are legend and many,few people have taken the time to write and be public on this or any other blog about their experiences.They prefer to suffer in silence because of fear that they will be further victimized.
    People have come to realize that those responsible for controlling,directing and managing the judicial system and legal fraternity are not interested, unable and unwilling to do so because of the ‘old boy network’ and the incestuous relationships within the profession.They are intent upon not “upsetting the apple cart”.
    A MAJOR clean-up of the legal profession /judicial system anytime soon is hard to envisage.Until and unless some disgruntled client takes extra-judicial steps and dispenses “justice” as he or she deems fit,justice will continue to elude those who deserve and seek it.We will soon arrive at the point where the lack of justice is so unbearable and significant that there will be absolute and REAL CHAOS ! As you rightly state,”Free paper soon bun” !


    Maureen Smith/Pieter Pieper@ sooner is on its way

  9. Pieter Pieper

    @ Plantation Deeds
    In parliament,where laws governing the nation are made,a member of parliament is alleged to have threatened another with a gun;another member of parliament,in the course of a debate in the same parliament,is heard suggesting to another member of parliament to “haul yuh muddah sc–t ” ;a lawyer,standing in the corridor of the courthouse, is alleged to have turned his back to a judge,bent over and uttered an obscenity to the judge.And you say “sooner is on its way” ? You may be right ! It’ll probably coincide with scientists finally discovering the origin of matter, considering they recently claimed to have resolved the question of Higgs Boson.

  10. Benteo

    You mean it is time for a permanent ethics committee in Barbados.

  11. Benteo

    The system of democracy in Barbados is too flawed. The checks and balances are way too weak. We need for a new constitution.


    The laws are their, more laws do nothing when all who make the laws are crooks and the laws they make dont apply to them , We may need to have another enforcement Power deal like the kind of F.B.I in Barbados to by pass the Police and the weak one party DPP.

  13. Benteo

    There is already a Special-Branch in Barbados. And it operates much like the F.B.I… Yet corruption continues to impregnate the institutions of government in Barbados. Let’s not forget that the F.B.I receives it instructions from the Homeland Security which in turn is oversight by the Executive- Branch. Remember now the F.B.I Director is nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

  14. Benteo

    I shall endeavor to make my point brief but not at the risk of being arrogant. A little more than two-decades ago on the tiny island of Barbados from whence I come.
    I remembered with great admiration the former occupants of the political- offices in Barbados, were figures who commanded the public respect.
    And rightfully so, because of the institution they were given the privilege to served, an institution that have been thought of by many as the life-blood of the nation.

    But, in our present era, we have a group of individuals who refers to themselves as politicians by popular definition. That speak and act as though they lack a prerequisite understand of the Social- Decorum. And moral deportment that is required for this prestigious office. It certainly seems, like there is a need to institute and influential guide to the proper course of conduct, for these modern day politician in Barbados.

    There is obviously a need to impress upon these modern day political leaders in Barbados. The true meaning and understand of duties and responsibilities of this important office. Moreover, it is an opinion made of cowardice and impertinent. When any member of the Opposition-Party. Engages in gutter- language when describing the physical- characteristics of a sitting Prime- Minister. Think about the message this is sending to the aspiring leaders of our country?

    In any even, have we gotten this low that we are some how forced to resort to gutter-language to inflate our sense of importance? It seems rather prosperous to have to resort to insults in and effort counter the antagonist point- of view. Why not attack your opponent on his record rather on the basis of his physical- characteristics. Which he or she in essence has little or no control over? It seems like the morals as it stands in the institution of government in Barbados today, has gone to hell in a hand basket. And what is the response of the electorate? To continue the same course of reelect the some character over and over.