Probate is the procedure by which a will is approved by the Court as the valid and last will of a deceased testator (the person who made the will). It also confirms the appointment of the person named as executor in the will – Probate of the Will – Public Legal Information Service of New …
Barbadians have become numb to the sloth of the Courts of Barbados. One of the simple functions is to administer the probate process. For many Barbadians what should be a routine procedure is fraught with long delays. To add to the challenge of managing probate, there are the lawyers -officers of the court – who gleefully take advantage of the dysfunctional system.
BU received the following communications that resonated with the household. So many complaints about lawyers especially from Barbadians in the diaspora. This is one group over the years who has been taken advantage of by lawyers, building contractors to name two.
When I read your paper I am not getting the impression that these legal issues are being taken seriously. Have you any idea as to the number of probate cases that have gone on for many years? Isn’t your silence encouraging and supporting the offenders?
Although it does not help a probate situation has now been in the system since 1995 with no end in site…This is a very large ‘property’ and all the attorneys are doing are ‘Milking the family’ for all that it is worth.. .
Mine is a simple uncontested will which has been in probate since 1997 – awaiting a conclusion and representing gross cover up by the BBA and the administration. There are many like me that I have met in person or heard of.
Why don’t you publish articles or write editorials about real people losing their money and property to lawyers in Barbados? Are you in agreement with what they are doing or are you afraid. It is a disgrace don’t you think? – Submitted by a frustrated client
Let the record show BU has posted several articles to – Lawyers in the News and Tales of the Courts – about the judicial and ancillary systems. More than the traditional media. However we empathize with Barbadians everywhere affected by the sloth of our courts.
Documentation received shows the lawyer at the centre of this complaint was contacted in 1997. Understandably the frustrated client escalated the matter to the Disciplinary Committee of BBA. We write understandably because the last time the Chair of Disciplinary Committee Woodstock-Riley spoke publicly she referred to the backlog of cases to be processed and the fact her committee is supported by volunteers. We have not heard from Tariq Khan the president of the BBA recently. Mr. Khan what have you achieved since taking office except to pad your resume?
The following emails confirm what Barbadians everywhere already know. Honest Barbadians are being held hostage by the ‘system’. The leadership of the judicial ‘system’ needs to intervene before someone is forced to take matters into their hands.
On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 7:24 PM, Marguerite Woodstock-Riley <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
We can appreciate your frustration and advise the following.
As my office advised communication on disciplinary committee matters should be to the disciplinary committee office. The Registrar of the Supreme Court is the Secretary of the committee and deputises someone to act in that role managing the administration of the committee. Unfortunately as you were advised the person who held that position is no longer there , a situation beyond our control as we had little notice . We expect to have someone in place shortly also working longer hours to move matters forward in a timely way.
The Committee comprises 7 persons and we meet every week to address all complaints lodged . There is a process involving reviewing all complaints, asking for further information if necessary , setting and having a hearing if a primafacie case has been made ,then our recommendations are sent to the Court of Appeal for hearing. We can proceed on a matter even if an attorney does not respond .
Your matter has been before the committee and you should be receiving communication from the office.
Please note our Committee addresses making recommendations for disciplining attorneys such as fines , suspension , removal from the roll for breaches of the code of ethics following the process outlined. There remains several options for persons to effect resolution of claims.
We can only reassure you that this committee is making every effort to address all current and outstanding matters with the resources we have .
Marguerite Woodstock-Riley Q.C. LLB(Hons) MPhil(Cantab)
WOODSTOCK RILEY |Attorneys-at-Law
Subject: RE: Deed to property
To clarify, the Bar does not deal with complaints regarding the alleged conduct of Attorneys-at-Law. These complaints fall within the province of the Disciplinary Committee. And for good reason. The function of the Disciplinary is governed by statute under the auspices of the Registrar of the Supreme. I have therefore included the chair of the Disciplinary Committee in my response to you.
I am sorry that you are frustrated with the responses you have received but I am not in a position to address your complaints. Instead by copying in the Chair of the Disciplinary Committee I expect that she will revert to you directly particularly as you have raised issues regarding the performance of the Disciplinary Committee.
I will however address two of the questions you have raised. I reject any notion that I condone any negative behaviours. You have made allegations regarding the lawyer’s conduct which have to be investigated. I do not believe or indeed assume or have any right to believe that I have a right to the deed of your property. This mode of thinking does not obtain.
I do hope that by this response and by copying the Chair of the Disciplinary Committee, your issues are properly and thoroughly addressed.
M. Tariq Khan
High Street, Bridgetown
Tel: (246) 435-8391
Fax: (246) 436-1920
Cell: (246) 230-7790
From: E. [mailto:xxxxxxx]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2016 12:29 PM
To: Tariq Khan
Subject: Deed to property
When I decided to undergo continuous expense in July 2015 to claim the deed to my property I did not think that almost 7 months later I would not have even had a response from the Disciplinary Committee where it is stated that there would be a response within 21 days
Even on December 21st I sent you another email and you have yet to respond. I have also made several calls to Ms Marguerite- Riley’s office and was last informed by her secretary that she will be communicating with me soon…As of today there has been no response or communication from her or the disciplinary committee.
In December, I also spoke to Mr Clyde Cummings who also informed me that I would have something in writing in a short while but after receiving no communication I again called on..Jan 19th and at that time I was informed that Mr Cummings no longer works for the BBA Disciplinary Committee and hat Margo Greene has refused to respond to the committee.
At this point I continue to have several questions:
1. Why is Ms Greene still practicing law in Barbados since she has refused to follow the law of the land and to conduct herself in a professional manner?
2. What is the justification for your condoning of this negative behavior of Ms Greene?
3. Do you or Ms Greene believe that you have more of a right to the deed of my property than I do?
I have been informed that this is not the only instance of Ms Greene’s unprofessionalism. I also saw in the Barbados underground that this unprofessionalism is a part of the practice in the BBA. I have been trying very hard to keep this out of the public arena…I guess that is where it belongs now…don’t you agree?
An immediate response would be appreciated. I am confident that if this was your property that you would not have been as ‘accepting’ of this maltreatment and unprofessionalism…
Have a blessed day!
Until this matter is resolved BU will add Margot Greene, Tariq Khan and Woodstock-Riley to the BU Lawyers in the News section.