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May 24, 2006

Comments

Leandra

go larry!

connie

these backbone Bahamian lawyers are making history!

Bahamerican

Excellent write up!

Ursula Wells

I think it is a good thing that the government is trying to get involved in the actions of lawyers.
Frankly, there are too many lawyers in Nassau that are willing to do dirty work for their clients.

I was very surprised to read in your article that lawyers are required by law to report escrow accounts to the government. When my mother died six years ago, my sister, acting as trustee, sold my mothers house, closed her bank accounts here, in Miami and Canada, took over her rental properties and has used her lawyer to avoid accounting for any of it, even though I am a beneficiary named in my mothers will.

When I finally got access to the so called "estate account" the bank manager told me there was nothing left. In my opinion the government needs to do something to stop this kind of thing from happening because I know my sister is not the only one abusing the system in this way.

If this means that all escrow accounts are to be audited by a select list of auditors then so be it - some lawyers cannot be trusted, some accountants cannot be trusted. It is good to see the government taking some sort of positive action to protect people like me from the actions of some lawyers in this country.

leandra esfakis

Ms. Wells obviously did not understand the nature of your article: the inspections have nothing to do with the government protecting the public against crooked lawyers. But I understand where she is coming from. I suspect there is more than one story like this.

I believe the Law Society in Canada for instance, has its own auditors. I do not how it works, but it would give teeth to an investigation against lawyers if the Bar Association had an auditor who could access lawyer's records.

The question is, when would a disgruntled member of the public be entitled to call for records?

Ms. Wells, could have, and should have, if she had grounds, got her own lawyer to get an injunction against her sister as executrix, could have frozen the administration of the estate, and could have got an order against her sister as trustee for an accounting. The sister would have to account, or be in contempt of court.I have been through this exercise on both sides of the equation.

If the sister's defense is, "da lawyer t'ieff it all," then, make him a defendant to the action, and get an order for accounting against him.

That is where a Bar Association auditor could be useful: if he were ordered to audit the lawyer's account for that estate, the pplaintiff would not have to come up with the money for an auditor (at least initially), nor rely on the defendant attorney's auditor.

A member of the BC medical association, told me that when their disciplinary tribunal sits, a fee is levied against all members of the association to pay for the costs of that tribunal sitting.

This has two benefits:

1. The sitting members are not sacrificing their incomes (totally).

2. The fee levied gets the attention of all members, and makes members more circumspect, as they do not want to be the centre of their colleagues' negative attention.

At present, members who serve on the Bahamas Bar Ethics Committee or Disciplinary Tribunal are not compensated. When I sat on the Disciplinary Tribunal (which disbarred Leon Smith) it took about 2 weeks or so out of my working life -no income, same overhead.It really is hard.

The only independent members of the Bar on that Tribunal were two single practioners (myself and Hope Strachan), not lawyers from the big firms, who have back-up.

Yet, they are the biggest complainers about single practioners. Where are the big firms when the rubber hits the road?

In the Leon Smith case, the whole process, from the initiation of the complaint, to Leon getting disbarred, took three years.

According to Justice Osadeby, lawyers in Jamaica have been disciplined for "just" lying to their client about getting a court date.

bernadette

How do i go about getting a divorce with out thw concent of my husband.one_b_one_g@hotmail.com

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