Members of the Trinidad & Tobago legal fraternity recently benefited from a sensitisation lecture on the advantages of mandatory Continuing Legal Professional Development (CLPD) hosted by the Canadian-funded project Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice), in association with the Law Association of Trinidad & Tobago.
The lecture was held on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at the Convocation Hall, Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, and attended by Her Excellency Carla Hogan Rufelds, Canadian High Commissioner for Trinidad & Tobago, the Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), members of the judiciary of Trinidad & Tobago, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies’ St. Augustine Campus, members of the executive of the Law Association and other members of the legal profession of Trinidad & Tobago.
Entitled “Continuing Legal Professional Development for Attorneys-at-Law: The Jamaican Experience and Regional Possibilities”, the lecture was delivered by the Hon. Michael Hylton, O.J., Q.C., a Member of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission and the Immediate Past Chairman of the General Legal Council of Jamaica. Mr. Hylton, who was instrumental in the implementation of Jamaica’s CLPD system in 2013, shared insights from the Jamaica experience. In outlining the benefits of a mandatory CLPD system, Mr. Hylton stated that it was international best practice which was beneficial to both practitioners and the public and would also boost public confidence in the profession.
Giving welcome remarks on behalf of the Government of Canada, Canadian High Commissioner for Trinidad & Tobago, Her Excellency Carla Hogan Rufelds reiterated Canada’s commitment and support for improving the Caribbean justice sector, including its on-going bilateral support for justice reform in Trinidad & Tobago. She also informed participants of the Government of Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy which seeks to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Professor Velma Newton, Regional Project Director of the IMPACT Justice Project, explained that the Project is drafting a Model Legal Profession Bill which contains CLPD provisions, but in the meantime has been conducting CLPD sensitisation lectures throughout the region.
In her remarks on behalf of the President of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs. Lynette Seebaran-Suite, Senior Member of Council, stated that the Law Association already conducted CLPD activities and is very committed to the formalisation of a CLPD programme in Trinidad & Tobago.