IMPACT Justice, in association with the Antigua Bar Association, hosted a lecture by the Honourable Michael Hylton, Q.C., O.J., President of the General Legal Council of Jamaica on “Continuing Legal Professional Development: The General Legal Council of Jamaica and the Jamaica Bar Association and Regional Possibilities”.
Held at the Trade Winds Hotel, Antigua and Barbuda , the lecture was attended by 35 members (25 F, 12M) of the Antigua and Barbuda Bar Association, including attorneys from the Magistrate’s Court, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Private Bar.
Prof. Newton delivered Opening Remarks, giving a brief overview of the IMPACT Justice Project, and outlining its components which are:
- the drafting of legislation for the economic and social development of the region;
- improving legal professionalism through enhanced codes of ethics, disciplinary procedures and the encouragement of bar associations to adopt continuing legal profession programmes for their members;
- improving and expanding databases of court decisions and legislation and articles published in the region which are available to lawyers and to any members of the public who want to do legal research;
- public legal education; and
- training in alternative dispute resolution which includes arbitration, mediation, restorative practices and community-based peace-building.
Hon. Michael Hylton, Q.C., told participants 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.
Hylton said that the means through which an attorney can accumulate credits include, formal education—encompassing reading for a Masters or other continuing programmes, teaching or writing or other legal learning or practice-based work.
He found that the benefits of CLPD were reconnecting, networking and promotion, mentoring and more scholarship and was in favour of a regional CLPD programme, which he said would promote the sharing of knowledge among countries in the region.
The session ended with a “Question and Answer” segment, where audience members expressed great interest in having a CLPD system in Antigua and Barbuda, and eventually the region.