BVI News

BVI establishes legal tribunal capable of disbarring attorneys

A legal tribunal with the power to disbar attorneys for misconduct has been established in the British Virgin Islands.

A media release from the Supreme Court said the eight-member tribunal was set up to ‘regulate the professional practice, conduct and discipline of legal practitioners’.

Clients and of attorneys or any person claiming to be aggrieved by an act of professional misconduct by a legal practitioner are able to issue a complaint to the tribunal.

The court as well as the Attorney General, the Registrar of the High Court, and any member of the Virgin Islands General Legal Council are also able to submit complaints against a legal practitioner.

Once a complaint is submitted, the tribunal — which has been described as a ‘watchdog over the legal profession’ — then determines whether to dismiss the claim or proceed with a hearing on the matter.

Disbarment, suspension, fines up to $50K

If a practitioner is determined to be culpable of the complaint against them, “the tribunal may remove the practitioner’s name from the Roll [of Attorneys], suspend the practitioner for a defined period with conditions not exceeding 12 months or impose fines not exceeding $20,000 pursuant to Part A of Schedule 4 or not exceeding $50,000”.

“Other powers of the tribunal upon finding professional misconduct extend to the practitioner being subject to a reprimand or a written apology, require payment of compensation or reimbursement, payment of party costs or a reasonable contribution towards costs or to impose any other reasonable measure not more severe than the prescribed penalties,” the aforementioned Supreme Court release said.

Notably, persons involved in each matter have the right to appeal any tribunal decision. They must do so through the Court of Appeal within 28 days of tribunal decisions, the media release explained.

“The territory’s courts of law retains the jurisdiction, power and authority to deal with contempt of court committed by legal practitioners. Nature of Complaints may include allegations of professional misconduct, a criminal offence or mental illness.

The tribunal’s eight-member team include senior prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Tiffany Scatliffe Esprit as well as Magistrate Jack Husbands.

Other members include Chairperson and attorney Sally Cox, deputy chairperson and Queen’s Counsel Paul Dennis, Hazel-Ann Hannaway, Edward DeCastro and Tre Todman.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

13 Comments

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  1. Rara says:

    Here comes trouble. Victimization alert.

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  2. bvi says:

    Well it’s about time because we have been taken advantage of for years

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  3. It is about time says:

    Oh happy day. Too much of them abusing the profession.

  4. Anonymous says:

    thank you for this!

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  5. Change Is here says:

    Creque watch out

  6. Legal says:

    This should have been done long ago. They are couple that should have already been disbarred. A female one in particular about whom numerous complaints have been made.

    • Hmmmm says:

      So because complaints are made that means she should be discharged. What were the grinds and validity of the complaints. Once persons don’t get there way they complain that doesn’t mean the person they complaining about is wrong. I’m just saying

  7. Ausar says:

    Yaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!!

    Thank you, Premier Fahie!

    Long overdue, especially for those who have suffered irreparable harm by a set of no-good, good-for-nothing Barristers!

    Yaaay, Yaay!!!

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
    • Really says:

      @Ausar, How can you praise Mr. Fahie when this was already in place while NDP was serving in office. Why don’t you people think for a minute. How can Mr. Fahie take over Government in only 9 days and already have all these things in place? Let’s give jack his jacket. Yes NDP is out but they worked for the people stop trying to give the New Government the praise already because things were already in place.

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  8. Common Sense says:

    @Ausar and @legal…so you all really think this just happened in the space of one week? Please exercise some level of common sense and give credit where credit is due. This initiative has been put in place by the National Democratic Party. Hon. Fahie will have his time to shine I’m sure, but it is only fair to give “jack he jacket.” If you believe this is indeed truly a great deed then please credit the hardworking team of the NDP. Stop pulling things from the air. Research and get proper information and facts!!! That is exactly what is wrong with this Territory – people don’t read nor research and always spreading propoganda! Right now you all sound like some uneducated fools!

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  9. Logical vs Ignorant says:

    @ausar and @legal
    Please exercise some level of common sense. There is no way Hon. Fahie can be given kudos for this initiative. While I am sure he will have his fair share of projects to shine from, give jack his jacket. It is ridiculous to think that he managed to implement this in a matter of week. That is the problem with our Territory, no one bothers to do research, read nor think logically. Give credit where credit is due because all you are doing is making yourself sound like an ignorant fool.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
    • True says:

      True, but at the same time, maybe all it required was signing off and the other party was holding it up. Who knows? All I know is that it would be a sad day if a certain previous member/s of government will be the first to be disbarred, if he or she in fact had been called to the bar.

  10. Great! says:

    I hope some of these judges are included.

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