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Bar Association Respond to call for Greater Professionalism in Legal Profession

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Thursday, September 19, 2002 – The St. Lucia Bar Association has been responding to calls made by Chief Justice of the OECS Supreme Court Sir Dennis Byron, for greater professionalism to be displayed in the legal profession. Sir Dennis in his simulcast address from Nevis to mark the opening of the 2002-2003 law-year on Tuesday, had stressed the need for added judicial reform and sweeping changes in the judiciary in the sub-region.

Bar Association President Loraine Williams on Thursday, September 19, 2002 noted that the legal fraternity on the island welcomed the comments of Sir Dennis, for greater professionalism to be exhibited at all spheres of the judiciary. She commended Sir Dennis for his efforts in the area of judicial reform and pointed to his foresight in trying to restore efficiency, integrity and public confidence back in the administration of justice.

“Indeed our code of ethics which comes under the provisions of the new Legal Profession Act states quite clearly that Attorneys at Law must maintain always the honoured dignity, the professionalism and integrity between themselves and their clients. I think coming from the Chief Justice, he just reinforces what I believe was already practice and conventions in the legal profession,” said Mrs. Williams.
According to her the recent call by Sir Dennis places the ball more squarely in the court of regional Bar Associations to do more in ensuring that the actions of attorneys and indeed the entire legal fraternity fall in line with established practices and conventions. “The Bar Association can only act under the provisions of a statute,” commented Williams. In the case of St. Lucia a statute has been passed in Parliament and the disciplinary committee of the bar has been established.

“What we had pointed out and this is well know, is that there were some areas of concern because of course every piece of legislation is not perfect, it’s only when it’s put into practice that one notices the imperfections and loopholes. Based on that we have brought these things to the attention of the Attorney General where we - meaning members of the disciplinary committee - thought there were some uncomfortable provisions, provisions that would put some impediments in our way of exercising our duties properly.”

The Bar Association president indicated that a new draft amendment has since been circulated by the Attorney General’s Chambers. The Association is currently in the process of studying and making recommendations for the way forward.


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