Non Membership in the Barbados Bar Association Does Not Preclude a Lawyer’s Right to Practice Law

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice (l) Andrew Pilgrim, President of Barbados Bar Association

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.

Thus, the list produced recently by the Bar Association of those counsel who have not paid their membership fees, is not relevant to right to practice law. As long as those attorneys have certification (and a complete list is available from the Official Gazette updated yearly) those attorneys have the right to practice that cannot be gainsaid by the Bar Association.

The Bar Association list has been generally interpreted and presented in the Fourth Estate and the blogs as being a denial of rights to practice by those attorneys and BU posts this clarification. The suggestion or implication that these attorneys, provided they have current practice certificates, are not eligible to practice law is potentially legally actionable.

105 thoughts on “Non Membership in the Barbados Bar Association Does Not Preclude a Lawyer’s Right to Practice Law

  1. All of a sudden there is a problem with a dictatorship … Stupse. Man the kind of decisions that all would love to have made would not materialize in a democracy. You know that … He knows that … She knows that … wah ever’body know da’ … and still yah crying down dictators? ha ha ha

  2. Who determines in Barbados that a law is unconstitutional? According to the accepted constitutional theory, it is certainly not a legal opinion -see section 24of the Constitution. Until then, unconstitutionality is merely a point of view.

  3. @ Jeff
    You have made an interesting observation, because I thought in much same light as I read the article. My thoughts led me to the fact in the United States of America for example, when federal, state, or municipal law comes in to conflict with the constitution, the Supreme Court makes the determination.

    • @Jeff

      Are you saying that the legal eagles whose names are on the listed and circulated by the Bar Association posted on BU have opened themselves to have matters they have been party to challenged and possibly set aside?

  4. I am saying nothing of the kind, David. I am merely saying that the opinion given to BU that the law mandating membership of the Bar is unconstitutional and hence may be safely ignored is reckless advice in the absence of judicial determination of the point. If it is not unconstitutional, then what, is the next question. None of the fundamental rights is absolute.

    • @jeff

      The lawyers who have made the decision to be non members in the Bar Association have done so fully appreciative of the ramifications of their decision. They are lawyers after all! Additionally their decision has been known to the Bar and legal fraternity one must assume. Where do we go from here jeff?

    • David

      Your question is addressed to Jeff but I will be forward and answer. Once the court is aware of the situation, the judge or magistrate should refuse to hear the lawyer. Also, having committed a criminal offence, they should be tried. But in Barbados, there is one law for the Medes and another for the Persians.

  5. David

    In light of what Jeff Cumberbatch has posted above, I hope that you and Amused at least now acknowledge the point that I was making. Lawyers cannot decide that an act is unconstitutional and choose to ignore it. They would have to challenge the law in court and let that determination be made by a judge, not a legal opinion. They must follow the law until such time as it is struck down by the court as unconstitutional. Don’t let whoever it is that provided the information in this post to fool you.

    The Legal Profession Act is a 1972 act of Parliament and the lawyers would argue that it infringes the Constitution. However, it merely replaced the provisions for compulsory membership for barristers and solicitors that existed prior to 1966 and as such, the compulsory membership of the Bar Association would have been saved by section 26 of the Constitution as interpreted by the court in the Gladwin King case (8% pay cut case in 1991).

    The Legal Profession Act is clear, if you don’t pay your bar dues and continue to practice law, you would be committing a CRIMINAL offence. Mind you, I am not giving a legal opinion which would also put me in conflict with the act: I am merely carrying out an exercise in English Comprehension.

    • @Caswell

      BU has posted another view to debate an issue which needs debating. The fact that this matter has been allowed to continue through the years when there is the matter of fact view that it is an illegal act boggles the mind.

  6. Ef de men knowingly brek the law and there ain’ na response from law enforcement, the men must know wah dey doing … HA HA HA. Na body touching dem… huh? And Amused did around much longer than Jeff so big mout’ Jeff better show some respect … HA HA HA

  7. The BAR is a place to get drunk .The BAR maybe good , if they did the work of letting others “THE PEOPLE” know who the good lawyers are. Instead of covering the CROOKS lawyers, Other Lawyers that do well would then shine and get more work as the BAD BAR members would get less or no work for their BAD “DEEDs”
    As the BAR seem to be the COURT for lawyers to hide their wrongs when the PEOPLE go there to take action and to be heard their case against them to be heard , The case is over before it even start.
    The PEOPLE have no where to go and the same Lawyers Make jokes like Richard Byer, and Ralph Thorne and lets not for get C.Lindsay Bolden,Ernest Jackman.and a lot of others,
    The BAR do not make it clear who is who and the fees is more of a payoff.
    Go to the other BAR and have a DRINK .
    Lets now find a list of who was taken to the BAR and see how long the cases took to be heard and the out come .
    No F.O.I there nor I.L either.LAW nor ACT.
    Let the BAR take the lawyers to court for fees and the case will take 20 years or more lolol.There seem to be GOOD lawyers and BAD lawyers on that list of non payment ,
    Sally Commissiong? , David Commissiong?, ,Ernest Jackman??? in the same law house.3 on the list.. David in the news working .
    Until the BAR clean it self up and let the People know their Mission Statement and stick to it , I would not give the BAR fees to be with a group of other lawless lawyers
    We have our own list and all 7 of the last is on it , THINK.
    Does GOOD Standing only means the BAR fees are PAID?

  8. So if these lawyers feel that this law is a mock law and can be ignored, what is to stop other professions from deciding that their registration fees are non binding and refusing to pay…?
    What is to stop land owners from refusing to pay land tax?

    …come to think of it, why should a home owner be paying taxes on land that he brought, paid for and lives on…? That must be against the constitution somewhere 🙂

    Point is, is it not SOMEONE’S job to challenge these lawbreakers? Or can anyone just do as they like…?

    ….but then we would need at least one intelligent person in the role of AJ, CJ or DPP….

  9. @David. Jeff, whom I respect, knows full well that for some time now the issue of mandatory membership of the Bar Association and also the question of VAT payable on Bar Association dues has been questioned.

    The first on the basis of the unconstitutionality of the Act, thereby rendering the Act itself a nullity ab initio. In other words, the Act to which Casewell is so persistent in referring (as if it were the Holy Writ) is null and void because it breaches the Constitution. Casewell, it is S**TE!

    The next one is the matter of VAT. It is well settled in law that VAT is not payable on membership dues to statutory organisations, no matter the statute is a nullity ab initio. Yet the Bar Association persists in insisting on the payment of VAT.

    The Bar Association has been repeatedly warned by presidents past and present that it must refer these matters to the courts, yet it has failed to do so. The position of counsel who have opted out is very clear. “If you try to prevent me from practicing law, I will sue you and I will win and it will cost you nuff money.”

    Last year the Registrar failed to include on the list of licensed legal practitioners certain names in the official list in the Official Gazette. These names comprised, so far as I can see, the same list of names of counsel who had opted NOT to be members of the Bar Association, but were, nonetheless, holders of practice certificates. Certain of those names commenced the CPR protocols against the Registrar. The Official Gazette swiftly republished a corrected list – AND the Registrar wrote personally to each offended counsel with her apologies.

    Now, I have seen Jeff’s comment which, while completely correct only so far as it goes, like most academic arguments, signally fails to provide an opinion on whether Casewell’s dearly beloved Act is a nullity – or not. In other words, it concentrates on the academic and NOT the practical application. It suggests that an action could be brought against the abstaining counsel (which is true) BUT it does not suggest what chances of success such an action has (which, in my view, is 0%). So, I would advise the Bar Association not to even bother to go there. What, Jeff, would YOU advised them?

    Recently, I was astonished and delighted to learn that in Ontario (I have no knowledge of the rest of Canada) counsel are obliged to write opinion letters (and obtain signed receipts for same) to clients in which they provide an estimate for the success of any action. This also, I am delighted to learn, forms a part of their legal education at law school. Thus the client has the chance, if plaintiff, to determine whether or not it is prudent to bring the action. If defendant, the client can determine whether to give instructions to try to settle the matter out of court or some such other measure that will minimise all losses. This is a measure that Barbados counsel would do well to adopt and which, in my estimation, law schools (and I do not single out Cave Hill alone) are most delinquent and irresponsible in not teaching.

    So, Jeff, as asked before, applying the Ontario principal of providing an estimate of success (as I have done) what would be your professional opinion of the chances of success if the Bar Association came to you to act for it in this matter? And I don’t mean at first instance (as one has to factor in “judges” like Elnet Kentish) – I mean in the final appeal. Before the CCJ?

    By the reaction of the Registrar and the courts, it is not by any means a stretch to assume that they view the Act as a nullity and are declining to involve themselves in what would certainly be an extremely costly (in terms of damages) action.

    Maybe it is high time that the Bar Association referred the matter to the courts, instead of publishing lists that may very well occasion damage to the people on that list and thus be deemed to be defamatory and which can be picked on and misinterpreted by the Nation and bush lawyers like Casewell who apparently has not heard of “nullity ab initio” and whose preceptor has clearly either not taken the time to educate him…..or has never heard of it himself.

    • Amused

      You are either dishonest or going senile. Nothing else accounts for what you have written.

  10. @Caswell

    The question posed by BU remains;

    This issue is known to AGs, CJs, Bar presidents and the like. Why has it been allowed to go?

  11. @Casewell. If I am, as you suggest, senile, then I am the most excellent company. Beverley, Sleepy, Maurice, Edmund, Vernon, Hal et al. Also, the presidents (past and present) of the Bar Association. What company are you keeping these days? Same old?

  12. @Amused

    BU’s main point of concern is – Why should this matter be allowed to continue? Ignored by those responsible for oversight and brazen disobedience by officers of our courts. Who is right, who is wrong?

  13. David……………… might be decades too late to do anything, may as well live with it, it has already benefited so many attorneys mostly to the detriment of clients. Who will want to change things when there are 22 lawyers now presenting themselves as leaders of the country or leaders in waiting.

  14. Bare Assholes in Barbados.
    So many degrees and cant solve simple problems
    Go Back to the Cane Fields you black people who cant seem to manage your affairs.

    Arise white people ! Your commonsense and business acumen is needed because the Indians may have some money but are too parasitic and the blacks are too tribalistic , selfish and eat their own kind.(Cannibals ? social Cannibals)

    Disclaimer : This is not a racially emotive comment
    Life is simple; Idiots complicate it

  15. Dr. The Honourable………………….it is complicated, white don’t know what to do either, no one to enslave, very little or nothing left to ‘conquer’…………up the creek, no boat no paddle. We have entered a different dimension…………..the laws have now imprisoned the designers…………don’t know what else to tell you.

  16. When these legal ppl put on gloves dey is throw in some good Latin … mek the argument sound impressive … HA HA HA. What it all boils down to is who got the balls to pelt the first rock … and since none ah dah ain’ happening it will be business as usual. Maybe a member of the public could seek advice from one of the people who were excluded from the list and then turn around and drop their ass in court for acting illegally. I see a business opportunity here. But who in the fraternity would represent me? HA HA HA. I sticking wid my new found friend Amused … Lard knows that ya need friends in these trying times …

  17. @ Amused

    As with others who have floated excellent ideas and for whom it appears their real identity beyond these mek up name is known I hasten to advise you not to answer your front door to any visitors after 7 pm!!

    “counsel are obliged to write opinion letters (and obtain signed receipts for same) to clients in which they provide an estimate for the success of any action”

    This is a revolutionary, careless and bullet to the head statement from a man who is obviously preaching sedition and treason.

    Besides the fact that it would require many of the brotherhood of silk to put in writing what they fancify in their heads and then seduce unwitting clients to pay for, it would open them to scrutiny by others who when required to give a second opinion could see their ineptitude in black and white

    The list of those who will now be seeking to bump you off has now skyrocketed from those 10-11 conscientious objectors to bar association fees and now includes 90% of all of the lawyers with certificate to practice in Barbados

    I do hope you have a gun or a good relationship with the Commissioner of Police because lawyers dont have to search hard for contract killers like average folk or pensioners like me they delegate a hit to their clients who are criminals.

    I did not call the name of the president of the bar association nor the coke using buddies of QC. *****

    Live long and prosper Amused since you have induced the half life of mercury into your life expectancy by set ranging these fellows

  18. Piece………………..please reiterate to them that this is a very dangerous and life threatening game, where the lawyers are the criminals and vice versa.

  19. The lawyers feel that the laws dont apply to them , But yet forced upon the people. The head of the lawyers is the Queen , Let the Queen know . If she does nothing then she is a part of the Problem.Long Live the King. QCs out KCs in ,

  20. Plantation…………….I don’t think you are getting it……………this thing did not start this century

  21. @David | April 11, 2013 at 8:01 AM | Two presidents of the Bar Association to my certain knowledge have advised the Bar that they are up the proverbial gum tree and ought to seek to clarify and correct these issues. But they have been ignored. One of them advised the Bar Association that the most dangerous thing they could do would be to go up against these dissenters. Rather, they should obtain a ruling from the courts clarifying the matters and they ought to be considering ways forward. These presidents of the Bar have been, it would certainly seem, ignored.

    Now, the Bar Association has produced a list of dissenters and it may well be that some (or none) of those have omitted to pay their certification (as opposed to Bar) fees. This can be ascertained simply by comparing the updated Bar Association list with that submitted by the Registrar to (and published by) the Official Gazette at the beginning of the year. The list in the Official Gazette is the ONLY list upon which courts are entitled to rely.

    What the Bar Association has done by publishing a list that should, at best, be treated as a confidential in-house and, at worst, is totally irrelevant and, indeed, misleading is to allow and, indeed, encourage bush lawyers (thank you for that Islandgal) like Casewell to preach that: “Once the court is aware of the situation, the judge or magistrate should refuse to hear the lawyer. Also, having committed a criminal offence, they should be tried.”

    Casewell has now added to his arrant stupidity by accusing counsel that he himself has named of committing criminal acts. And he can be thankful that the general consensus of opinion among my fellow sufferers in senility is that, “No one in Caribbean, not just Barbados, done take Casewell seriously.”

    @pieceuhderockyeahright!,, | April 11, 2013 at 9:05 AM | I am old and I have never been too good at keeping my mouth shut and, because of the lack of effective governance of the RBPF by the CoP, I always lock my door and I do have a gun and I am a very good shot, senile though I am thought to be. And like all old people, I am a very light sleeper. In any case, in relation to the Police I am forced to follow Juvenal and ask, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

    Anyway, it is not a revolutionary idea at all to know what you are paying for. If you go to a doctor he/she provides you with a DIAGNOSIS and may recommend some other form of treatment, or not as the case may be. If you say to that doctor that you would like to take a second opinion, he/she will willingly agree, because they have no objection, in the interests of your health, to having another medical professional check their diagnosis. Similarly, unless you are an idiot, you don’t go and buy something unless you know what it is you are getting. As my classical brethern would say, “Caveat emptor” (let the buyer beward) or, on occasion, “Caveat rumpus” (cover your ass). Lawyers, like doctors, offer a service and I understand that the Canadian practice of requiring opinion letters is not new at all. So it is bemusing to senile old me that we can adapt and adopt Canadian legislation (like the Companies Act and the Condominium Act) from Canadian law, but appear not interested in certain requirements of practice in Canada that would effectively protect the general public in Barbados if they were adopted. Little things like this and maybe saving court time by hearing minor pre-trial motions by conference call with all counsel and the judge, instead of requiring attendance.

    • Amused

      Don’t focus on the senile part of my comment. I said that you are either senile or DISHONEST. Since it is now apparent that you are not senile: dishonest is the only thing left.

      Section 45 (3) of the Legal Profession Act states:

      A Practising Certificate issued to an attorney-at-law shall be of no effect until the annual subscription required by section 44 has been paid.

      You old goat, I did not make that up.

  22. If we jump off this issue we find that a significant percentage of our members of parliament are members of the highest policymaking chamber in the land.

    May God help us!

  23. The legal profession in Barbados has got to be upgraded and brought into line with more enlightened jurisdictions.For example,there should be a Fund to which all legal practioners are mandated to subscribe and which Fund would serve to provide a buffer between lawyers and clients in the event of a dispute
    or in the event of the untimely death of the lawyer and outstanding monies are at stake.Should a client have a dispute with a lawyer,the law should mandate the method of settlement and identify the responsible official

  24. @Gabriel. We have some excellent attorneys in Barbados who fully understand the practice of law and the rules to be followed. Our most immediate problem lies with the courts (Registry and judges) not the attorneys who practice in them. Trust me, the attorneys are being as harmed and sinned against by the courts as the general public.

    But yes, I think most attorneys would completely agree with you that the system of discipline and dispute is very, very far from satisfactory and it needs to be looked into carefully and AT ONCE!! And a system found that is fair to all, whether it be yours (and I make no comment either pro or con on yours) or another.

    Very good submission, just the same. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but it is certainly a way to consider.

  25. Gabriel Tackle

    Thank you! Your submission about the compensation about the compensation fund has proven to me beyond doubt that Amused is a fraud. He agrees with your submission that the compensation fund is desirable. What he did not tell you is that the Legal Profession Act has already provided for a compensation fund. He should read sections 47 to 52. He is a fraud.

  26. @Caswell

    Are you in the know what would have hindered former AGs like MAM and Sir David from acting to reconcile this matter? BU notes that reputed gurus on constitutional law Gollop and Stuart are on the list.

  27. BAF
    Even if you do that and “drop suit in deh tail”, who is going to provide your legal oversight,not the bajan lawyers. Be certain that THEIR already rule out any one form over and away coming to assist you.

  28. @ Dr. Honourable
    Have you considered the fact that blacks in the Western Hemisphere, have had fewer than fifty years worth of experience, in governing their political affairs? While, whites, Chinese, and Indians have had practically thousands of years to perfect their social and political affairs.

  29. Amused
    Why the need to bring in the caribbean in relation to caswell’s comments. I think your difficulty with Caswell is that he, having not spent ALL of those years training as an attorney, seems to understand the said law and its factors better than you and 99% of the lawyers in Barbados.

    This also speaks to the fact that beyond the constraints placed on the numbers at our law schools, most of you are of an intellect that Caswell shall never bow to.

  30. Seems like Caswell always does serious and factual research before answering questions pertaining to law……..

  31. Thank you Well Well and Gabriel Tackle for seeing the man’s genius. I too get a bit upset with Caswell at times but he shall remain a true legal eagle for me.

  32. Well Well@ I get it ,I just like to look at what is not covered nor seen by most. We use the Queens English and laws are made , If the Agents of the law dont follow the laws using what the Queen have a patten on “English ” and the great charter , then what?One fly in the soup and i goes in the trash , I will not spoon it out and serve . I think different and see different i am not what 75percent will do as most call normal , Think of what the other 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 or even 1% does , Keys needed and doors need to be unlocked.

  33. AC…………you know you will never understand…………….things like these are way above your comprehension level…………..just watch and learn, we would not want you to get hurt innocently.

  34. AC……..I know you miss Miller……but this is really serious, or are you afraid the current administration that’s riddled with lawyers gets called out on why nothing is being done about the situation…………..try not to lose me.

  35. Both Caswell and Amused are my two passes for the year. HA HA HA. But wah, yah get older, yah see t’ings different and yah become more un’standin’ … Life is short

  36. @Dr. The Honourable

    “Go back to the Can Fields you black people can seem to manage your affairs.”

    Listen! I am trying my best to understand how in the world your comments are devoid of racial epithets. When you willfully attacked someone’s racial leaning in effort to give purpose to your point of contention. Now, am I to assume that you’re not black? Based on the fact that your choice of words (he or she must be Chinese lol) seems to indicate that you’re erecting a barrier between those who bears resemblance to the race of black.

    Moreover, there are just better ways to express one’s disgusted with the current state affairs in Barbados, then to resort to such distasteful racial labeling in an effort to get one’s point across. I understand your frustration with respect to the events that has transpired in Barbados quite recently. But, it still does not relieve you of the fact that you could have been a bit more sensitive to the people and they way of life.

    • Is it not incredible we have a situation in the law that needs a correction which would resolve the matter under discussion yet it would be allowed to go unaddressed by our esteemed legal eagles? What does it suggest? Does it inspire confidence? What about the ethics at play here? This is not good enough.

  37. @Amused, I have just read your comment of 7:13am [I am sorry, I was off BU by then] and there you encouraged me to provide an opinion on the matter of the constitutionality of the provision. To be honest, I, too, am of the view that it is of doubtful constitutional validity and that a judge would have difficulty fitting it within any of the stipulated qualifications to the right. Moreover, it is not even saved by section 26 of the Constitution, since it is not a law that existed on November 30 1966 to the best of my knowledge.

    But that is not my point. It is, rather, that until the law is declared null and void to the extent of its inconsistency with the Constitution, it remains enforceable no matter what legal scholars may opine. Either the Bar or the dissenters should test its validity in the only forum which can determine this. I believe that Caswell is also making the identical point..

  38. It is mind boggling that this topic could take up so much time on BU while innocent people are languishing at Dodds waiting for trial.

    Innocent until proven guilty? right?

    They are people waiting for years to get title searches completed,estates settled,Insurance claims adjudicated and we concerned about Bar Association fees.

    These delays are costing Bajans a lot of money since real property values are dropping because of the continuing economic downturn.

    All we want is for Lawyers to do the work we pay them to do in a timely fashion and I still hope that the good Lawyers will lobby to make law reform a priority.

  39. @Hants
    Hants, with all due respect, but what are you actively doing about the innocent who are languishing away at Dodds, beside being an armchair advocate? Talk is cheap ;action speaks louder than words.

  40. @Mark Fenty,

    I am doing nothing about those languishing at Dodds. You are right I am nothing more than an armchair critic.

    So wtf(ance) does it matter to you what I am.
    The innocents are still in Dodds waiting years for a trial.
    Talk to those who want to do something.

    I would like to see law reform as it relates to that which interest me the most.
    Property and money.

    Law reform and an efficient court systems helps everybody including those at Dodds.

  41. Law enforcement is needed , We have more laws than we need in a den of lawyers , Pushing and Pulling at the same time ,So nothing gets done, All looking to out smart each other and the People ,
    enforcement , enforcement enforcement. let the JURY decide ,
    Jury can nullify a bad law, It is impossible for a law which violates the Constitution to be valid .All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.

  42. @Jeff. I was absolutely sure you would agree. With the greatest respect (and I mean that sincerely and not just in the accepted style of legalese) the public is interested in the bottom line – and that is what I and some of the BU family provide. We don’t waltz around the subject. We Bajans are a very direct people – we cut to the chase. And in this case, the chase is not mired in ambiguity or uncertainty or arcane and possibly contradictory legal precedent. It is extremely simple. Simply put, the Act, which CLEARLY breaches the Constitution and which did not indeed (as you have said) exist in 1966, in breaching the Constitution, is a nullity ab initio. And that is what you have said, but unlike me, with the odd caveat rumpus thrown in. Done with that.

    However, it remains the law. Or does it? How can it ever have been the law FROM THE START, when it was a nullity ab initio (“ab initio” – from the start)? As a nullity ab initio, it simply NEVER EXISTED! Therefore, for a magistrate or a judge to deny counsel audience before their courts (as recommended by Casewell) on the basis that an Act, which is a nullity ab initio, is the law……well, at that stage the professional and mental competence of that presiding officer would be rightly called seriously into question and God help them against the members of the Inner Bar who would all direct their wrath at them.

    And you do Casewell far too much credit – he does NOT understand. But it was a valiant effort to remove his nuts from the fire in which his preceptor has persuaded him to place them.

    @Well Well and Lemule, I say that a man is known by the company he keeps and I am very happy to see that you have both found Casewell. For myself, I will not join you, but instead stick to Sleepy, Maurice, Edmund, Beverley, Hal and Vernon et al.

  43. Is this where we have reached?

    Nation report:

    Fri, April 12, 2013, 12:08 AM

    AN INCIDENT earlier this week involving a veteran attorney at law and a High Court judge has left the legal fraternity in an uproar.

    According to reports a Queen’s Counsel after a verbal outburst directed at the female judge, turned around and backed her, lifted his robe and bent over while uttering a profanity.

    The incident, which took place in the corridor outside the judge’s chambers, was witnessed by several attorneys, including another QC, court staff and court marshals.

    It is understood that the incident left the judge in a distressed state and has since been reported to Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson. Sources said that technical staff had been asked to review the cameras to see if the incident was captured on tape.

    • @Ping Pong

      As you know we have been blogging for a long time that all is not well in our Judicature. The political directorate, people and Fourth Estate have not joined us in pushing for speedy reform. Crap has a way of sinking.

  44. A QC directing vulgar comments and actions towards a High Court judge!? For shame …. is the emperor naked?

    • I don’t know that it is a big secret that Madam Justice Sonia Richards had a dispute with Alair Shepherd that degenerated.

  45. @David. Alair Shepherd was the QC and Sonja Richards was the judge. MEANWHILE, in another court…….on the same day…….

    I am told that Barbados’ favourite judge, Elnet, refused to allow audience to another QC and asked him to leave her court. He advised her (rightly) and he had not interferred with nor obstructed the proceedings, he is a member of the Inner Bar and has a right of audience and therefore he was not leaving. So Elnet flounced out. Then, Elnet, clearly having been told, yet again, that she is wrong, returned. However, during this time, the QC left, so she sent the Marshall to ask him back to court. But he refused to return until she had apologised (which she should certainly do, if only to try to salvage what little credibility she still has). To date, she had not apologised and the QC has not returned…..maybe Elnet figures she hasn’t got any credibility left anyway and is just marking time until the Barbados taxpayer can pay her pension.

  46. @Amused and the other BU legals

    BU has posed questions above which remain unanswered. Let us pose another.

    What does the ‘skinnin of the tail’ by a QC to a judge and the recent ‘verbal’ as narrated by Amuses speak to, the systemic issue if you please.

    When our law and order (police and court) begin to disintegrate what?

    • David

      It all boils down to one law for the Medes and another for the Persians. If nothing is done to show that all are equal before the law, it is only a matter of time before the masses revolt, with devastating consequences.

      If I had done what was alleged, my name would have appeared in the newspapers, and I would have been arrested and brought back before the court and punished for contempt.

  47. If a vote were taken at the Bar as to whether it should test the constitutionality of mandatory membership in court would the 95% of the lawyers in Barbados who pay and apparently agree with the law prevail?

    Could the 5% even get to vote?

    …. and if the matter actually got to court, (God forbid) brought by the 5% of the lawyers in Barbados who are not members, how would the fact that 95% of the lawyers in Barbados agree with the law as is have a bearing on the outcome of the case?

    Shouldn’t the non paying lawyers take the matter up in court so they can continue to practise?

    Clearly the Bar and its members (>95% of the lawyers in Barbados) don’t have a problem …. and perhaps the 5% are treating themselves the same way many clients get treated in Barbados by the profession!

    Seems pretty hopeless to me that anything will be done in this millenium and we are spinning top in mud on this matter.

  48. It’s all been debated before. Then it was that the BA was a trades union. Now it’s simply a nullity. John you’re right. Caswell you’re absolutely right. Jefferson…you’re mostly right but do stop pithering.

    What happens if a client of a non-payer has a grievance? To which body does he have recourse? And who, as necessary, will take disciplinary action?

    But David – yes – you are right too. It is absurd that the BA has not had the guts to test the whole thing.

  49. @David. Okay. Let me see if I can address your questions.

    First of all, I have to say that I consider the conduct of Alair to have been reprehensible.

    One does not “moon” anyone, regardless……unless, of course, one is a teenager, in which case, although reprehensible, if from the back of a moving vehicle, one moons passers-by or, indeed, friends in other cars, that can be put down to a combination of youth and high spirits and is excusable. I myself, MANY decade ago was known, after the partaking of a few libations or a little weed, to do things like that. But I am old – and so is Alair and I can readily understand the distress of anyone who is confronted with that part of the anatomy on someone where gravity will certainly have made serious inroads. To do it in the courts, regardless of whether it is to a judge or not, and at Alair’s age, one has to wonder if, far from being in high-spirits, he was simply in spirits. I wish someone had goosed Alair as he exposed himself. One can only hope that more of his shortcomings were not revealed.

    @Baffy, you realise that I am setting this up for you. Just I beg you don’t make me laugh too much. Uh old.

    As I say, it is highly inappropriate to moon people, far less in the courts. HIGHLY!!!! Alair owes the judge (and anyone else who had the misfortune to cast an eye on his aged posterior) an abject, public, written apology for (a) mooning them at all; and (b) causing distress by displaying his undoubtedly saggy posterior and evidence of mortality.

    That a queens counsel of Alair’s age and seniority would do such a thing, however, seems to me to bring home the total lack of respect and credibility that the courts and the bench now enjoy and the total contempt in which they are held by the majority of the Bajan people – lacks for which the courts themselves have only themselves to blame.

    Your question, David, is, “When our law and order (police and court) begin to disintegrate what?” And the answer is “anarchy”. And the worst part of it is that the anarchy is the sole creation of the justice system and none other. Because if people cannot obtain justice (and justice delayed is justice denied) and those who are sworn to “serve and protect” merely serve themselves and protect their own personal interests instead of those who pay their wages, what are people supposed to do?

    The solutions are, unfortunately, drastic. It is akin to a patient whose malady could have been cured by a simple operation if applied in time and who now, too long later, is faced with major surgery. There is no avoiding this any longer and no fence-sitting is permissible from our elected government, or from the head of the justice system. The mechanisms are enshrined in the Constitution, which provides clear and unambiguous directions for the dismissal of the Registrar and any members of the Registry who are not properly carrying out their jobs. It also sets out how to go about dismissing judges and the CoP and any unsatisfactory police officers. These removals require certain things, like gross misconduct – and I maintain that the Registrar and 98% of the judiciary have provided more than adequate grounds for their dismissal. All it takes is leadership with balls.

    I have been asked, as I write this, what would happen if the Registry and the judiciary went on strike? My answer is that since they do nothing anyway, they are effectively on strike right now and have been for years, so what the hell difference would it make?

    Finally, for about the last year I have been having dreams (very pleasant dreams) where I march into court, drag the judge off the bench, bend him/her over the QC’s table, remove their lower garments (saggy posteriors notwithstanding) and give them 12 stinging lashes with the heaviest law book I can find. Then I awake and, alas, it was just a dream.

  50. I am waiting to see what CJ Marston Gibson does re Alair “Lily Marlene” Shepherd doing a waist backward genuflection to a High Court Judge.

  51. @David. Maybe it is a good time to re-name the series and instead of calling it “Tales from the Courts”, call it “Tails from the Courts”.

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist!!!!!

    I mean, it would have been a grim enough sight if it had been a black or deeply tanned saggy posterior – but a WHITE saggy one? Oh dear. Not good.

  52. @Pat

    The CJ must celebrating that AS skinnin-out did not happen ‘incourt’. Then he would be forced to act. Now it may just be a discretionary thing based on a Code of Conduct which may or may not be enforce.


    Good to see you are alive.

    • David

      I suggest that you do a blog entitled: “QC showed Judge his Silk”.

  53. Amused

    But the man din’ drop he trousers … If memory serves, he is wear straps to ensure that they stay in place since the likes of him lack the appropriate physical attributes to hold them in place on their own … So nah harm … HA HA HA


    You come back … HA HA HA .. Amused and me is friends now … HA HA HA … Life short!

  54. @Baffy. Nicely caught. You have to agree though that, covered or uncovered, it is frightening thought. But what do you think would have happened if, instead of a saggy behind (covered or uncovered) it had been one of the young, fit counsel – like the president of the Bar or even a judge like Randy Worrell? May one speculate that, instead of being “distressed” Madam Justice may have, involuntarily of course, exclaimed, “Tally Ho?”

  55. Comrades, the Bar Association is a trade union and there is no legislation compelling people to join a union. If the law pretends that to appear before a judge/magistrate in open court one has to be a member of the Bar Association then, in English Law, the would be flawed and should be challenged in court.
    It is like saying that one must be a member of the Criminal Lawyers Association to appear in court representing a client.
    Or a member of the British Medical Association to be a practising doctor.
    In both cases the legal bodies are the Law Society, for solicitors, the Bar Council, for barristers, and the General Medical Council, for doctors.
    We have too many lawyer/politicians making the law.
    Does one need to be admitted to the bar to give office-based legal advice?

    • Hal

      The Bar Association is not a trade union. It might behave like one at times, but it is definitely no a trade union.

  56. Amused

    I is a man that is grudgingly give credit to members of your fraternity hear … but as aimless as I view most of them, none are so deficient as to believe that they could drop draws in public and walk away unscathed … not with the likes of Lemuel and Cas lurking somewhere in the background … HA HA HA HA

    • Baffy

      If you were in court he would not have gotten away unscathed. I am sure you would have accepted the offer. His poor tail would have been sore.

    • I always say that if you put a pig in a palace, you do not get a king: you get a shitty palace. In this case, you put a pig in silk.

  57. But Cas you can’ try to beat me to the punch here pun a blog when you know that you would be scrambling to do so if faced with an exposed ass … HA HA HA

  58. A lot of these persons might be brilliant at what they do but many of them have not grown up, they have not matured, they still act like little boys: Estwick in the House brandishing a gun and teasing -that ” if you is a bad , come outside” to Marshall. The infantile Donville Inniss and his comments to Duguid and the equally childlike response by the said Duguid. Justice Waterman’s attitude during the AX affair.

    These big adults like most of us have a child within .
    Controlling that child is a challenge for some

  59. @Baffy. You may like to consider that some people who are not as strong-minded as you – remember I have SWMBO, so am not in the strong-minded category – see these judges uniforms (they call them “robes” – don’t ask me why) and their air of authority and punishment and assumed learning, as being sort of dominators, or in this case, dominatrixes. A turn on for some. Since we do not know that there was even a disagreement, maybe the judge was being invited to, “Spank it.” The name “Spanky Shepherd” therefore springs immediately to my warped mind. So, the cry of, “Spank it, boss, spank it,” may well have been the cry that was thought to be an argument. It greatly amuses me to know that, by his own admission, if Casewell had been (qualified to be) the judge, he would have spanked it – without any momentary hesitation. Ah well, nothing against Casewell, because as the French say, “Chaqu’un as son gout – which basically means, “Whatever lights your fire, turns your crank, floats your boat.

    I don’t know about you, but I have not been so amused (make that “deeply shocked” – got to be a little pompous occasionally – rep, you know, rep) in a while.

  60. I had to go before a female magistrate a few years ago, Oistins. My Gad dah woman did UGLY … a miserable, ugly humanoid. With all the robes and shackles and lingerie, there is NOTHING short of radical plastic surgery, that could make dah bitch look even remotely viewable … My Gad …! HA HA HA

    • Baffy

      I am not surprised that you think that the lady magistrate was ugly: all women are ugly to you. I sympathise with you and feel sorry that you were not there to see Shepherd’ behind even if covered would have given you a thrill.

  61. Firstly, I don’t see an issue when a man stops to tie his laces and people misinterpret.

    Secondly, what IS clear is that ALL respect is now gone, from what was a respected system.

    Unfortunately, when one puts someone in place who had NO COURT EXPERIENCE as a judge, do you REALLY think the senior lawyers are going to respect that person at all???

    Come ON, have some sense.

    One big xxxxing mess.

  62. Let me ask you a question, if your Nissan or Toyota brek down, are you going to tek it to de fella now get outs de polytechnic as a trained mechanic, who was wukking in de parts deparment, or are you going to tek it to a mechanic who has been working for a number of years and is respected?

    Four ind e morning an wunna toilet overflow, are you going to call de fella now pass he exams, worked two years at ACE hardware and now start pun he own, or you going tuh call de fella that Auntie Gladys know who been fixing her toilet for 12 years?

    Come one, have some sense, do!

  63. @BAF’BAFBFP | April 12, 2013 at 3:48 PM | i had to go before a female magistrate a few years ago, Oistins. My Gad dah woman did UGLY … a miserable, ugly humanoid. With all the robes and shackles and lingerie’

    We see yuh been thinking about dat lingerie, dat is a Freudian slip (or corset), yuh could not help thinking bout she putting yuh in a holding cell and mekking yuh ‘serve’ yuh sentence…hahahahahaa

    BAF like them UGLY!!!

  64. @Crusoe. My sentiments exactly.

    @Baffy. You get the feeling that Casewell trying, with his usual lack of any style, to imply something bout you? Now, I am the type of person who minds his own business – usually – but, if I remember correctly, Casewell’s master/teacher got one of what he trying to imply about you, in de close family – and exactly like Casewell, I understand he does like to discipline too. Methinks Casewell doth protest too much, poor old thing. He like he never learned that ef yuh gone live in a glass house, do NOT pelt rock stones.

  65. HA HA HA

    Cas don’t get too sympathetic, hear, ’cause you knows that I got eyes fay you, sweetchile ..! And when I done I gun give wah lef back to Bush Tea to mop up …! Sweetness …!

    HA HA HA

  66. Even before I could answer Amused…………..Alair with his/her effeminate arrogance proved our point of the total disrespect lawyers display in Bim, be they QUEER COUNSELS or whatever…………Amused, the company you keep are no better………….We are trying to get to the bottom of why the judiciary has become a joke and now laughing stock in Bim………..Alair just helped us with that.

  67. If a senior law officer ,a QC to boot, could be so disrespectful to a Judge in Barbados, then it gives Ms Myrie hope of collecting her $1Million.
    This country is out of control. A few years ago we saw and heard the member of St Andrew telling off the Speaker of the House. Since then we had the M’s C outburst in parliament by the Dentist. Law and Order was high on Mr Thompson’s agenda in 1994 ,when he took control of the DLP. What has happened since then,and especially in the last 5 Years.

  68. @Baffy. They have a few that meet your description, so help me out. Does she look like Casewell in drag? If so, it probably is Casewell in drag – except when in drag duh does call she “Mary”.

    @Well Well | April 12, 2013 at 8:38 PM | “We are trying to get to the bottom of why the judiciary has become a joke and now laughing stock in Bim.”

    Do you not think the use of the word “bottom” is, in the circumstances, an unfortunate choice in the sentence that is a redundancy anyway as we all know the answer – including you? As you (and the whole world) well know, the answer is David Anthony Cathcart Simmons!

  69. Amused……….that is a whole nother story there…………..i only realized i used the word bottom after I posted.

  70. robert ross @ let us all know what does good standing mean to the BA?
    As long as you pay up to date with your dues , BA then will publish to say who in good standing ? If you dont pay, you are not in good standing with the BA? even if you are a crook lawyer?
    The list of who paid and not paid have few good lawyers on both sides , Non payment dont show who brought cases against lawyers for land and cash. where is that list ?The case against the bad lawyers as any court case 20 or more, so until the case is heard the lawyer goes on robbing or continues his bad ways ,
    My heading alone will tell you all this is nothing new , so dont act to be shocked ,
    good standing ? all need to sit down

  71. Pingback: Justice Pamela Beckles Rules Membership in the Barbados Bar Association is Unconstitutional | Barbados Underground

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