Legal associations merging into one body

| 24/10/2018 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service

David Collins

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Law Society (CILS) and the Caymanian Bar Association (CBA) are about merge into one single professional body. After years of the CBA largely representing the interests of local litigators and the Law Society attorneys involved in the offshore sector, the two professional bodies are shaking off the labels and, following approval by both memberships, creating the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA). This marks the first time that the entire legal profession in Cayman will be represented by one association. 

According to a press release about the new venture, the CILPA’s mandate will include supporting and protecting the character, status and interests of the legal profession and to promote the qualification, training and development of Caymanians as attorneys-at-law.

Alasdair Robertson, the outgoing CILS president, said that both CILS and the CBA have played crucial roles for the legal industry in Cayman representing the profession, encouraging the study of law and promoting honourable practices.

“Both associations were essential and important in their own right, however, the time has come for us to merge our knowledge and experience in the creation of an association designed to progress and protect the objectives of both,” he said.

A transitional council, comprising members of the executive of the CILS and the council of the CBA, has been working to form the new body, create a new website and form the first council for CILPA. David Collins, the interim president elect, Alasdair Robertson, Neil Timms, Kendra Foster, Huw Moses, Erik Bodden and James Bagnall will oversee the organisation until elections in early 2019.

“The future is bright for the legal industry in Cayman,” said Collins. “This merger is a hugely positive step for our profession and we are looking forward to the growth and development of Cayman’s legal sector. The creation of CILPA allows us to bring together an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and resources from both previous bodies, allowing us a larger and more accomplished platform to ensure the continuation of service to Cayman’s legal industry.

The new council will include at least two members who are sole practitioners or from a small firm with less than ten attorneys. Up to five will be from law firms employing ten or more lawyers, and no more than two members of the council can practise at the same law firm. All members of the initial council are Caymanian and going forward, at least a majority must be Caymanian, with the president being Caymanian.

Neil Timms QC, formerly the CBA president, said the merger was a moment for renewed optimism. “CILPA will be democratic, transparent and with adequate resources to meet the challenges we face, as well as being committed to the training and development of Caymanians within the profession,” he added.

The new association listed supporting the judiciary in upholding the rule of law and the administration of justice as one of a dozen objectives; also on the list are protecting the independence of the legal profession and encouraging education. The association will promote the public rights of access to the courts and the right to representation, encourage improvements in the administration of justice and the provision of law reports.

Although the officials from the new association made no direct mention of the absence of a legal practitioner’s bill, they said it would continue to support law reform and would create its own code of conduct for the profession.

Without a modern legal practitioners law, there is still no formally legislated code for legal practitioners. But the proposed bills over the years have all been contentious, with CILS and CBA often having been at odds over the previous drafts. It is not clear whether their merger signals a possible way forward for the law.

Despite the differences over what should and should not be in the new law, the profession is both supportive and well aware of the need for the law, which was also one of the recommendations that has been made to the Cayman Islands authorities to ensure the jurisdictions compliance with the Financial Action Task Force requirements.

Former financial services minister, Wayne Panton, failed to steer through this legislation in the face of significant opposition from a small number of lawyers, the opposition and public concern that it would not benefit Caymanian attorneys. However, the current government has failed to bring any new drafts of the law.

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Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What is this, National Day of Whining?

    • Anonymous says:

      Can the private sector please gets its act together. CiG should not have to fix this.

      • Anonymous says:

        If the CIG refuses to enforce its own Laws and oversee the destruction of many Caymanian’s careers; there is little the private sector can or will do about it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Finally. If the lawyers can do it why can’t the animal charities do it?

  3. Anonymous says:

    David would be an excellent President.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Low numbers so why not merge. I attended ONE CBA meeting a few years back when they held elections. I was TOLD who to vote for (all the Maples candidates and then anyone else). There is NO representation for small firms, sole practitioners or in house counsel. Its big private practice firms and that is it. The people on the council admitted they had no clue of what challenges are faced in the industry outside of private practice. Also, their support of the Legal Practitioners Bill which was a horribly drafted and ill conceived piece of legislation was enough to turn a lot of people off of them. They are merging because outside of large private practice firms they have alienated literally every other sector of legal practice. I know this will turn into Cayman v expat, and while there is a lot to unpack under that topic, I will only say here that neither association has been inclusive of the other sectors of the industry and that is shameful.

    • Anonymous says:

      The irony of your comment is that the last Bill provided that sole practitioners and small firms would have been required to be represented on the board and small firms/sole practitioners would have received significant fee reductions which would have been subsidized by the bigger firms. So congratulations your short sightedness has given a break on fees to the bigger firms, cost Government money that could have gone to education, cost Caymanian sole practitioners guaranteed representation on the board and a couple thousand dollars in fees they would not have had to pay if the Bill was law.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mere scraps. The simple fact expats (okay, some have status, most from McKeeva) were offering them as a deal illustrates the reason for the backlash. People are mad the industry has already been given away. Expats say back that the industry would not exist without them so there was nothing for Caymanians to have. In other words, we occupy this part of your economy, and you’ll get what we give you. Caymanians don’t respond well to that sort of thing.

  5. Lord Denning-Ebanks says:

    I guess the LPC and revised code of conduct no longer need to be passed as a matter of urgency. Wayne Panton failed as minister and you can bet Tara Rivers does not have the stomach for that battle. So nothing changes and the abuses continue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Does this merger solve the issues of lawyers practicing in other jurisdictions as Caymanian when they are not. Perhaps I have not stated the issue properly could someone please correct me and advise of the matter is now moot with this merger. Thanks.

      Just want to know

      • Anonymous says:

        No, you nailed it.

      • Anonymous says:

        What people do in other jurisdictions is not enforceable by Cayman. You can hurl harsh language at them, but that’s about it.

        • Anonymous says:

          So the solicitors rules that stop me working as an English Solicitor in Cayman are not enforceable here? Great. Sign me up!

          Idiot.

          • Anonymous says:

            you can enforce whatever you want here. not much you can do overseas unless you go complain overseas. good luck with that.

            • Anonymous says:

              Can you imagine what a formal complaint to the Law Society of England and Wales would do to you and your ongoing unlawful scams?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Minister Panton failed to bring the Legal Practitioners Bill because the public saw it for what it was! another attempt to shift the control of our legal industry overseas. Does anyone recall the bill and the far ranging negative implications it contained for Caymanian lawyers? Thank God they stopped him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately like you, the public may have been completely hoodwinked. Think about it for a second, there is absolutely no regulation currently which in any way addresses how Cayman law is practiced outside of Cayman. But we know it is being done on a fairly significant scale. That has both pros and cons for Cayman. Explain to me now how a Bill which sought to properly regulate and impose restrictions on what is already happening overseas now a bad thing? You have let yourself be fooled and you have participated in the continuation of harm to the interests of Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good luck enforcing anything overseas. overseas enforces its own rules. if some guy in hong kong drafts up an incorporation for a cayman company, there is nothing you can do about it, even if you could prove it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It would be nice if they can look at monitoring the trainee programs of the law firms or atleast set some criteria that should be followed. It is clear to see that the scholarships grants are only given to friends and children of the partners who I may add, already have enough money to pay for the child’s education. We have quickly moved away from awarding the best and smartest of our young Caymanians to giving scholarships to whos dad is friends or neighbor to the stakeholders at the law firms.

    This really needs to stop and I hope that the government also can start looking at this or else “certain type” of Caymanians do not stand a chance.

  8. Anonymous says:

    But the CBA was just there to try to create a regime that guaranteed windfall profits to its members simply because of their passports.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually no. It was there to seek to ensure that Cayman Islands Laws were followed by those calling themselves officers of the court. It failed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let the fronting continue! Great rewards to come to all the lawyers who are now guaranteed the right to continue to set up and maintain illegal structures. No one even watching over them now.

      • Anonymous says:

        The CBA focused on profits for members as the guidance for its policies and campaigns rather than the good of the profession as a whole or users of legal services. It was basically a pressure organisation to elevate nationality over talent as a measure of progress in the profession.

  9. Anonymous says:

    David Collins is the Managing Partner of Walkers’ BVI office (have a look at their website). Surely the President/President Elect should be based in Cayman?

    CNS: The name and email options in the comment section is for your own name and email. I usually delete the whole comment if people falsely use someone else’s identity, which is pretty despicable. Please don’t do it again. Just leave the sections blank if you don’t want to identify yourself.

    Also note that Collins is only interim president elect until elections early next year, as it says in the article.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hooray, all our problems are solved!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Create a new code of conduct? Like the one created before, and widely ignored?

    • Anonymous says:

      Widely ignored by whom? Cite examples. Otherwise you’re simply lying.

      • Anonymous says:

        Prove it.

      • Anonymous says:

        By the numerous lawyers who promised to follow it and then didn’t. You know, like the ones with all their colleagues practising Cayman Law without practising certificates (a likely offense), or setting up fronting structures (a likely offense), or maintaining fronting structures (a likely offense) or failing to fully disclose Caymanian applicants for positions (a likely offense), or masking the actual ownership and control of incorporated practices …. (you get the picture?)

        There is a sordid past and present that CILPA will have to grapple with, but until they do, their credibility and that of the so called profession they represent, will be in question.

    • Anonymous says:

      The sad part is this is an easy fix. Most attorneys in Cayman are aware of the Solicitors Rules. There is more than enough long standing content in there to based a Cayman Code of Conduct and simply tailor to suit legal practice in Cayman. This isn’t rocket science.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sad that another Caymanian entity being gobbled up.by foreigners.

    Like the Caymanian CNB directors selling out the Cayman Islands for their own personal interests, now the lawyers are sellng out the future of young Caymanian lawyers being controlled by foreign lawyers.

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