Categorized | National News

AG Encourages Attorneys to Receive Practicing Certificate

Under the theme ‘The legal practice in a 21st century Bahamas,’ Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson addressed hundreds of attorneys at the 2015 Bahamas Bar Association First Training and Education Retreat.

The event is purposed to offer training and further skills to attorneys, allowing them to compete on an international basis.
Maynard-Gibson told the attorneys that the workshop and training it provides is a continuous education opportunity that is well needed by local lawyers.

“We can all agree that education and training are key components in development of local jurisprudence and generally the practice of law within our country,” she said.

“What could be more important to our jurisprudence than the continued advancement of membership of the bar and bench, towards the most noble of goals, the advocacy of the rule of law within our Commonwealth? We are at a pivotal point in our nation’s history. We have accumulated a significant amount of local jurisprudence in most areas of the practice of law.

“Indeed we are observing that our integration into international regulatory frameworks brings with it the added requirement that we extend our competencies into new areas of practice. We are also experiencing more and more the call to open our doors to allow non-nationals with unique competencies to be called to the bar and to practice, including in their own law firms in The Bahamas. This too points to the need for training to assure highest standards pertain in The Bahamas.”

The attorney general spoke about competing regionally and internationally. She encouraged the lawyers to continue on for a Practicing Certificate. She said the more credentials obtained the more exposure, experience and opportunity will follow.
“It is critical to our competitiveness as a country to promote that we, the members of the Bar Association, continue to be competent and capable of handling complex matters that may arise within our jurisdiction,” said the attorney general.

“And, where necessary we can engage expertise from outside The Bahamas to assist. Further, our judges are more than capable of hearing submissions on complex legal issues and give rulings. It is within this context that the Bar Association, since I was secretary to Bar Council, has been advocating for a Practicing Certificate. Since then colleagues said, ‘Oh, we’ll never get it past those lawyers in Cabinet.’ I’ve thought about why ours is one of the few professions that does not mandate continuing education – which is really what a practicing certificate is all about. I’ve come to the conclusion that the real answer may be that the Bar Association itself does not agree that continuing education should be mandatory.”

Mrs. Maynard Gibson said that a progressive legal system requires the improvement of the administration of justice. She noted both advocacy and the delivery of justice must complement each other.

“We must also strive to improve on the quality and timeframe for the delivery of judgments being produced in our courts,” she said.

“Remedying the inefficiencies found in the delivery of justice must be a priority! Legal practitioners and their clients and the reputation of The Bahamas are being adversely impacted by increasing delays of the Supreme Court in producing judgments. I am advised that in some courts judgments have been outstanding for more than four years. I have been also advised that judgments in some interlocutory matters have been outstanding for over one year.

“In many other jurisdictions this would be considered judicial misconduct and an abuse of power! By whatever yardstick is used, this is unacceptable and it reflects poorly on our legal system! Bar Council and the Inner Bar must openly discuss inefficiencies like this towards finding a solution! That is what is required of a progressive legal system of which we are all stakeholders with various interests! Again, I want to impress upon the Bar Council that it must continue to represent the interest of its membership towards this end!”

The attorney general said there is a synthesis of responsibility to the bar membership and responsibility to community because it is key not only that they help members to grow and develop, but also that they serve the wider community.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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