Controversial lawyers bill pushed up LA agenda

| 09/03/2017 | 53 Comments

(CNS): Government has juggled the Legislative Assembly order paper and postponed Thursday’s usual ‘private member’s motions day’ to tackle the controversial Legal Practitioners Bill, as the administration is keen to steer it through. On Wednesday Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton presented the legislation to the parliament with the aim of getting it passed, even in the face of the trouble the proposed bill to regulate the legal profession is causing, including allegations of private eyes tailing MLAs and criminal conduct by law firms.

The law was pushed up the agenda due to a combination of pressure from the lawyers in the offshore sector, the need for a modernised piece of legislation to meet the requirements of the financial transparency review Cayman will undergo shortly, and the significant list of amendments filed by members on the opposition bench that will also need to be debated.

Government has a hefty workload to get through before the parliament is prorogued on 28 March ahead of the May general election. With all of the opposition members wanting to have their say on this bill for their full allocated time, dealing with this law alone could take several days.

Panton was accused of having a conflict of interest regarding the bill, a matter that was dismissed by the speaker before he presented what has become Cayman’s most controversial legislation in modern times, even overtaking the furor over the National Conservation Law, another long-awaited and hard-fought law that Panton was able to successfully steer through, eventually with cross-bench support.

Government has also placed its long list of laws ahead of the private members’ motions listed to be heard to make sure it passes its business before the ruling PPM party goes to the country in the hopes of getting another term in office.

This means that the controversial motioned filed by the East End member Arden McLean and supported by Winston Connolly calling for a police inquiry into the conduct of major law firms in Cayman that have overseas offices will not be aired until next week at the earliest, and only if the opposition benches agree to drop all the rest of their long list of motions dealing with many other public interest issues, such as animal abuse, getting a mammogram machine for the hospital, cutting duty for local people and addressing the issue of child sex offenders.

Check back to CNS later for full details of the LPB debate and more coverage from the last session of the LA for this administration.

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (53)

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  1. Salt N Pepa says:

    Push it up yes. Push it real good.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Syed steals money = jail. Big law firms steal money = equity bonuses.
    Zzz…




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  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m confused…….does this whole hoopla mean people can practice Cayman law without having to sit a Cayman bar exam and being admitted locally? Is it possible to practice UK or NY law without sitting the respective bar exams?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Your interpretation is correct and no you’re not able to practice UK or NY law from here or practicing without the respective certificate. In fact, I think you have to practice within a jurisdiction.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Not what happens in the real world. The added cost burden imposed by this law will shift the “soft” Cayman work from offshore firms to the onshore firms.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Firms in New York and London have already been pushing this line when the effect of the bill became clearer. Hong Kong firms will follow suit too no doubt. Nothing annoys clients more than this sort of greedy tax.




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  4. Sheppy Brandon says:

    The family legacy of running your own people into ground and destroying their opportunities continues so sad for our younger generation.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s a pity we don’t have adults in our LA that can collaborate calmly to modify legislation to have the desired effect – that everyone seems to agree with – to protect current and future Cayman-grown talent and generate CIG revenue. Everything has to be “criminal lawsuits” and temper-fueled tirades to get attention – like far too many ill-conceived motions, a lawsuit that we the public will fund and likely loose if carried. The other side claims that naming a couple firms for purported labour violations would spell the downfall of the financial industry. I hardly think so. Can we all grow a sense of proportion please? We will always be the losers so long as we elect adolescents to run our show. Let’s please keep that in mind going into May.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    This legislation will be a big boost for the mediocre who cannot succeed on the basis of ability.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Hardly accurate or even true. The whole situation reminds me what I read in history about the plantocracy, which we now seem to have but in a different form.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    MBE for Minister Panton soon come




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  8. Anonymous says:

    Alden we are watching. Don’t let big business buy your soul.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    This is a pathetic law to try to try to impose nationality over talent when it comes to law firm management. It is very harmful for the jurisdiction.




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    • Anonymous says:

      What are you whining about? The LPB, in the form being pushed, imposes foreign nationality over Caymanian talent.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Please do show me that section, I must have missed it…good job someone is half awake.




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        • Jotnar says:

          What 3:32 means is that it fails to impose Caymanians over foreigners, irrespective of relative talent. Whereas 3:19 thinks it does. Both are reading into the law what is not actually there in black and white, based on their respective prejudices. So there is no point asking them to identify the section – its invisible and inferred, a bit like the mysterious PIs.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Cue-uninformed racist bigoted comments from people who don’t understand jack shit- this is why you go to a lawyer, they understand the law.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah and the apartheid laws in South Africa were created to make the perfect system by studying racism in the USA, Australia and the Netherlands. Google the Trevor Noah Show for the full details.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    thank god. now get it passed!!!!!




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  12. Anonymous says:

    CNS, I think you meant to say The law was pushed up the agenda due to “greedy lawyers” doing what and when they want illegal or otherwise to our ultimate demise.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yea….”to our demise”. Do realize that you’re undermining our financial services industry by even writing such ignorance? If by “demise” you mean that they have developed one of two economic pillars on which Cayman stands then yea…”demise”. I have no connection to law firms and I can assure you I’m more “Caymanian” than you are because my family were among the very first settlers…so when you come with such silly statements please realize that there are many of us Caymanians that fully appreciate everything the firms have brought to our islands and we believe in getting ahead by hard work not by a law that forces these firms to promote you based on your citizenship.




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      • Anonymous says:

        There’s that argument again that financial services can do whatever it wants because they are all powerful and don’t answer to our laws if that is true we do need to be blacklisted!!




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        • Anonymous says:

          They are not all powerful but we designed a system that allows them to operate a certain way. This way had worked amazing…if you haven’t noticed maybe you should compare Cayman to any other caribbean island




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          • Anonymous says:

            Caribbean countries may not have the vast amount of monies flowing through their countries but please do not fool yourselves real Caymanians are no better off than Caribbean people. I do agree that more of the imported and permanent residenced and status granted in Cayman are way ahead of other Caribbean people as well as real Caymanians in monetary terms. Another fact about Caribbean people is that the majority of them know who they are and are proud of who they are and does not sit around paying homage to massa. Wish we would take a page out of their book in that regard.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Ok so why do new expats who had nothing to do with getting these law firms here get to keep all the pie to themselves? Exactly.




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        • Anonymous says:

          What on earth would make you think they do? Apart from having had a frontal lobotomy there is no excuse for such blatant ignorance of what goes on, and even worse, attempting to comment on it.




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  13. Anonymous says:

    Wayne could afford to have the public have more time to find out how bad this bill is for this country and caymanians. If he had any good intentions he wouldn’t be trying so hard to shove this down our throats!!

    Archer we are watching you and hope you are above all of these conflicts of interest!!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry – how many more months do you want Government to give you to read the Bill? You had it since last September. Leave the Ministers out of your failure to read it.




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      • Anonymous says:

        2.28, it had some very big words in it. Some had more than 4 letters! It is unreasonable to expect us to read that quick or even worse to think we would understand it.




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        • Anonymous says:

          It took them 2 years of top secret drafting… there’s hundred of hidden loopholes for the benefit of large firms.




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          • Anonymous says:

            Of course! The bill mandates a 1:1 ratio of Caymanians practising with these firms and the number of attorneys they can employ in overseas offices. Those numbers are ~180 and ~240 respectively. So as soon as the bill passes these firms will be able to transfer or hire 60 lawyers to their foreign offices. Nothing anyone will be able to do about it. Just one of the loopholes. This is why they are pushing so very, very hard to pass this bill. It will make them even more grotesque sums than they already get and none of it will be shared with real Caymanians. Lipstick on a pig.




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            • Anonymous says:

              I’ve never seen Wayne fight so hard for anything- why in earth could that be????! I’ve also never seen the big firms put so much money into advertising or promoting anything! Conincidence?




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            • Jotnar says:

              And right now there are absolutely no limits on how many attorneys their foreign offices can hire.




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            • Jotnar says:

              And right now there are absolutely no limits on how many attorneys their foreign offices can hire. So rejecting the bill is really helpful Might be a little more constructive to debate the ratio and the conditions than stay with the status quo and cut your nose off to spite your face.




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            • Anonymous says:

              Apologies, reverse those figures. ~180 in overseas offices, ~240 properly qualified Caymanian attorneys (out of close to 700). Result is the same.




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