The Canadian-funded Impact Justice Project and the Office of the Attorney General hosted two lectures on April 14, 2016, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Barbados.
The lectures, entitled Continuing Legal Professional Development for Attorneys-At-Law and Accounting Rules for Attorneys-At-Law – Safeguarding Client Funds, were delivered by Immediate Past Chairman of the General Legal Council of Jamaica, Michael Hylton; and Chairperson of the Accounting Reports Committee of the General Legal Council of Jamaica, Hilary Reid respectively. Though geared to attorneys-at-law, the lectures were open to members of the public.
Attorney General, Hon. Adriel Brathwaite, Q.C., MP, delivered Opening Remarks during which he highlighted some of the areas to be addressed within the judicial and legislative system including matters relating to family court and the juvenile system.
In his presentation; “Continuing Legal Professional Development: The Jamaica Model,” Hon. Michael Hylton shared how the CLPD programme was implemented in Jamaica.
He said that Jamaica implemented mandatory CLPD in January of 2013, and that it is based on a system of credits where each attorney is required to attain a certain number of credits each year; adding that where more than is needed for a calendar year is attained, those credits can be carried forward. He also outlined the accreditation process and how the provisions relating to CLPD in the Jamaica Legal Profession Act are enforced by the General Legal Council.
In her presentation on safeguarding client funds, Ms. Hilary Reid noted that the most common complaints filed with the Disciplinary Committee against lawyers are for the misappropriation of client funds. She explained how the system of utilising a separate trust account for client’s funds works in Jamaica and outlined the regulations as set out in the legislation, for paying money into and out of the trust account. Participants also heard about the record keeping requirements and reporting obligations for attorneys-at-law in the Jamaican legislation.
The session concluded with a “Question and Answer” segment and a Vote of Thanks delivered by Ms. Tamiesha Rochester, IMPACT Justice Project Officer.