New professional body still hoping for lawyers law

| 18/01/2019 | 17 Comments
Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association, Cayman News Service

Erik Bodden

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association, the new professional body created from the merger of the Cayman Bar Association and the Law Society that now represents all practising attorneys in Cayman, is still hoping that the long-awaited and much disputed Legal Practitioners Bill can be steered through the Legislative Assembly. Attorney Erik Bodden made the new association’s first public address at the opening of the Grand Court on Wednesday on behalf of the interim president, David Collins, who was overseas. He said that many of the issues facing the local legal profession would be addressed with the passage of the law.

Bodden said it was an historic moment because it was the first time that the Cayman Islands legal profession, which is now made up of 800 lawyers, was represented by a single body.

“It signals the first step towards the legal fraternity’s commitment and readiness to move forward as an inclusive and united legal fraternity,” he said, describing the organisation as “aiming to work together to overcome the many challenges facing the profession and to enhance our jurisdiction on the global stage”.

Reading the president’s address, Bodden said the profession was evolving, with an increasing number of Caymanians entering it and more leading international law firms coming to Cayman. He said that lawyers were all facing an increasingly complex regulatory environment, which was particularly challenging for sole practitioners and smaller firms.

“To support the profession through this evolution, CILPA must operate in a different way from its predecessor associations. It must be developed to function as a self-sustaining legal association, an association with an annual operating budget, its own premises and full-time staff driving forward initiatives of importance to the profession with the support of its members. Through this model, CILPA will be able to advance the interests of lawyers, the profession and the jurisdiction in this evolving legal landscape,” he said.

Bodden explained that CILPA provided an opportunity for a united legal fraternity and the government “to work together to achieve the shared aspirations of a thriving self-regulated legal profession, to support the development of Caymanian lawyers within law firms, to strengthen our local economy and enable our jurisdiction to reach new levels of prominence as the leading offshore financial services centre.”

But he also highlighted three main issues of “paramount concern to lawyers”, including the need to establish a framework for the development and progression of Caymanian lawyers within law firms to ensure that the financial sector retains its preeminent position on the global stage and an appropriate level of self-regulation of the profession.

“Achieving these …objectives will go a long way toward strengthening our jurisdiction’s position as a leading financial services centre, supporting the careers of Caymanian lawyers and to unifying the local legal fraternity,” he said, adding that all three issues could be addressed by the passing of a new Legal Practitioners Bill.

“I am encouraged by recent remarks from the premier on the floor of the Legislative Assembly in November last year, signalling the government’s willingness to engage on the passing of a new Legal Practitioners Bill. The premier has rightly said that a new bill must have the support of the majority of Caymanian lawyers. In those same remarks, the premier also cautioned that no bill would be perfect. I want to use this opportunity to echo and endorse those remarks,” Bodden said.

However, so far there has been no sign of another draft of the controversial legislation, which was last on the House agenda just days before the parliament was prorogued ahead of the 2017 May General Election but never made it to the floor.

The draft bill brought by the financial services minister at the time, Wayne Panton, was dropped after a number of attorneys lobbied hard against it and generated enough opposition to the bill, not just on the opposition benches but among government MLAs and voters on the street as well, causing the premier to halt its advancement given the pending election.

See the full CILPA presentation in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, Court, Financial Services

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I had mixed emotions watching my attorney drive my car off a cliff

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Boden needs to tell his profession to follow the example of the Accountants, support a bill that regulates the profession and remove the economic clauses that legalize their illegal activities.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    No. Not everything is billable, even by those lawyers who actually have a practicing certificate. All the lawyers in your firm have one, right (not that CILPA even cares about such nuances).

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  4. Say it like it is says:

    I am a little puzzled by the premise that progressing Caymanian lawyers within firms is necessary to ensure that “the financial sector retains it’s preeminent position on the global stage”. Surely it’s professional qualifications, experience, competence and knowledge that attracts international business, not the natinality of the lawyers.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You haven’t read the whole speech and were obviously not in attendance. That isn’t actually what the speech said.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The position will never change until the judges and magistrates take back control from a few defence lawyers who drag out court time with drivel, that would not be acceptable in the U.K.

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  6. OLD Caymanian Captain says:

    ANONYMOUS 10 : 47 AM I agree and why should they have their own Law , so that they can live above the Laws that every other Citizen has to live under . No then we have other professional Laws . Stop that now because there are too many now that Laws don’t aply to.

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    • OLD Caymanian Captain says:

      Can anyone say why the Lawyers should have their own Law to live and work by .

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      • Anonymous says:

        Because so many of them ignore so many others. You know, stuff like 60:40, needing practicing certificates, immigration requirements,secret kickbacks from realtors… someone, somewhere, actually believes some of these people will actually change they way they act simply by changing laws. I have no such confidence.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I am a Caymanian lawyer and CILPA sure as hell does not represent me.

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