Attorneys have been warned that the courts in Eastern Caribbean states will have a zero tolerance policy on the misuse of clients’ funds and property by them.
Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira, said the matter is one of “great concern.”
“Great responsibility is placed on an Attorney at Law who has been put in charge of client’s funds,” she stated. “It is very disconcerting that in an overwhelming number of cases these funds are inappropriately managed by Attorneys at Law. The court will show no tolerance for such behavior.”
She was addressing the opening of the new Law Year on Thursday.
According to Pereira, many of the member states of the Eastern Caribbean, disciplinary committees have been established to whom litigants can lodge complaints against an attorney.
“Such indiscretion can be very costly to the client and quite damaging to the attorney not only financially but also professionally,” she stated.
Reference was also made to countries such as Barbados and Jamaica which “have of late shown zero tolerance for such behaviors and we have seen cases of disbarment.”
“In our jurisdiction as well, we have seen a few cases of some attorneys being struck off the robe,” Pereira noted. “I will not say much more on this in this forum except to say that Attorneys should always remember and view the duties to which they owe to their clients and to the profession as sacrosanct and uphold them at all times.”