Panton: Objecting lawyers wrong on bill

| 06/12/2016 | 47 Comments

(CNS Business): The public criticisms made by four local attorneys regarding the Legal Practitioners Bill have been roundly refuted by the financial services minister. Wayne Panton has indicated that the four sole lawyers are wrong on all of the critical points they made about the proposed legislation and he will not be going back to a draft law they claim existed in 2013. The minister hit back and accused the lawyers of condemning the bill, which has the backing of most of the profession, without offering any constructive comment to address what they claim are the problems with it.

Panton denies that the drafting of the bill was “secretive or unprecedented” suggesting the allegation was “nonsense”. He said the legislation followed the normal process with drafting instructions based on input from across the profession, and the draft has been subject to significant industry and public scrutiny.

The minister also queries claims by the four objecting lawyers that there was a 2013 bill. He said that the attempt at a draft in 2013 had been rejected outright by both of the main associations representing the profession. But the Law Society and the Caymanian Bar Association were behind this latest proposed bill, which had been drafted from a clean slate.

Speaking about the importance of Cayman law being practiced overseas, which has ensured Cayman retained business, created offshore jobs and filled government coffers, Panton said that practicing Cayman law outside the jurisdiction was not an offence but there are risks that need to be addressed, which is one of a number of reasons why Cayman must finally, after decades of wrangling, pass this legislation.

“It is now way past time to modernise the law without further delay,” Panton wrote in his response to the four lawyers.

He noted that it was a pity the small group of attorneys would not be offering their input into the law but he said other sole practitioners had offered comment which was being considered and incorporated in the final draft expected to go before the Legislative Assembly for consideration in January.

See Panton’s letter in full in the CNS Library

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Category: Finance, Financial Services, Law

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Honestly. I do hope some of the posters on this topic are attorneys, because I would hate to have them handle any case of mine. The ignorance and lack of understanding displayed in the comments here is nothing short of shocking.

  2. A Ebanks says:

    Every Caymanian attorney who fails to speak up and put their name to legitimate concerns is a coward and deserves whatever they get at the big firms who view them as token hires to satisfy the immigration law.

    Wayne’s response letter demonstrates that he is a boorish hog of a politician. He has not addressed the issues raised he is more interested in slating those who have dared to ask questions and point out real issues with the LPB.

    • Anonymous says:

      I always have a laugh at lawyers who practice their trade everyday by arguing about everything but I don’t see anything wrong with his letter. The one before that to him was quite argumentative and mean. The response seems like straight talk.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanian attorneys have spoken via the CBA. The CBA is democratic.

  3. Anonymous says:

    4 lawyers. Not news.

  4. PPM Distress Signal says:

    Yes everybody is wrong and wayne wonder is right that about sums it up folks. Well on election Day you please tell Wayne Wonder exactly what you think of him by not putting the symbol that means Wrong next to his name. Easy solution to resolve this problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      where does it say that everybody is wrong? I believe it is just the small number who object without saying why and how to make it better. But feel free to put that x next to his name because he is good for this country.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My concern with this whole debate is mainly the actions of the minister. He appears very bias and keen on pleasing the firms. I’m yet to think of anything progressive he has done besides putting in place more hurdles on the middle class and acting as though he elected himself. While I appreciate not everyone is approachable I’m yet to understand his true reasons for running almost 4 years ago because it surely wasn’t for Caymanians. Hell no Panton does that…check your cayman history folks. KMT

  6. Anonymous says:

    Patton cannot refute that this Bill is not adequate to protect the jurisdiction and to ensure that the firms do not pillage and take everything we have built. This Bill needs serious amendments and should never have been supported by him in the form it is in- unless he is wearing his managing partner hat instead of his politician hat. I will ensure I do not vote for ANY member of the LA that supports this bill in its current form as they obviously do not have the countries interests at heart!

  7. Anonymous says:

    But Panton has missed the core point of the complaint, namely that certain groups of attorneys want to be able to leverage even more oligopolistic profits by reason of their passport.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Boy I can’t wait to vote these clowns out of office next year.

  9. Anonymous says:

    His reply is patronizing and speaks to his general demeanor.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The current law makes all admitted attorneys officers of the court. If you need a written code of conduct to tell you what you should or should not do in 99.9% of circumstances, you should not be a lawyer.

    • Anonymous says:

      The is required by international regulatory bodies such as the Solicitors Regulatory Authority – without which they will not recognise Cayman lawyers

      • Anonymous says:

        They will not recognize Caymanian lawyers anyway. They force them to undergo full articles.

        • Anonymous says:

          They wouldn’t if Cayman used the same standards, both in terms of education, theory and practice as other jurisdictions, but they won’t. In any event even if they did, without a code of conduct and CPD requirements which are compulsory elsewhere, Cayman likely still wouldn’t be recognised.

    • Anonymous says:

      Um, only in Cayman. Elsewhere. Including the UK, all recognised legal practitioners including legal executives (who are not even recognised in Cayman) are subject to a code of conduct and substantial CPD requirements. So I guess Cayman represents 0.1% of your calculation.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes, this sort of protectionism really worked out well for the Bahamas.. It’s becoming evident Mr. Panton severely lacks understanding of free markets and how job growth is actually generated.

  12. Anonymous says:

    PPM are not interested in any form of dialogue they have an agenda for their friends in corporate cayman to complete at all costs. This is fait accompli they are not interested in protecting small businesses or Caymanian practitioners. If you are not with a big firm you do not matter to Panton and his ppm colleagues.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s entirely correct- they must all have hidden agendas to be supporting this Bill. Wayne has GOT TO GO- and take the rest of the ppm with him!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Panton cannot actually explain why he is choosing to represent the big firms instead of his own people hence why everyone who opposes him is speaking “nonsense”. This is seriously dangerous and everything that is wrong with piolotics. I am now sure that every member of the Ppm has serious conflicts of interest and is not taking their duty to act in the best interests of Cayman to heart one bit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Typical PPM arrogant and disconnected from Caymanian concerns

    • Anonymous says:

      With all due respect, of course he will side with the firms. These firms generate large fees for Cayman by way of ROC filing fees and work permit fees. A lot of expats may be assholes but i’ll bet they go a long way to oiling the wheels of the civil service. Tell me one single politician who would cut that slush fund off..

  14. Anonymous says:

    Stop playing political football with our professional. Stop seeking personal revenge on the Minister at the expense of the rest of us. Stop pretending that you even fully understand the issues or that they even effect your practice. Quit the political theater because this is real and NOT passing this bill can lead to the break down of the entire financial services industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would anyone care enough about Panton- why would those lawyers who oppose it care about him? That makes no sense. Obviously they care about the Bill- they aren’t politicians.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What the sole practitioners selfishly miss is that Caymanian attorneys who do their articles and qualify in Cayman can not register those qualifications in the U.K. even if they did their law degrees at the best universities in the U.K. That means we cannot gain access to practice and gain valuable experience in the entire commonwealth but the commonwealth can come practice and compete with us here. It doesn’t matter at all if your only do local work, but for those of us aspiring to head up the international firms, we need to be competitive and the current law holds us back.

    • Anonymous says:

      Total bullshit in context. A Caymanian qualification works very well if you want to practice Cayman Law in Hong Kong or anywhere, and is a requirement of Cayman Islands Law. Some law firms actively deprive Caymanians of those opportunities, and preserve them all for their foreign kin. That is a fact met with a falsehood that no Caymanians can be found who want overseas experience.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry Charlie you are wrong. Foreign countries generally control the practices of ALL lawyers in their territory. You can’t go just anywhere and practice Cayman law without qualifying locally.

        • Anonymous says:

          OK Roger, you saying that every Australian practising Cayman Law in Hong Kong is a Hong Kong admitted lawyer? Why? They are not practising Hong Kong Law. They are practising Cayman Law. Come to think of it, do the HOng King regulators know they are practising Cayman Law even though they have no Cayman practising certificate, and the Cayman rules make it an offense for them to do that?

          • Anonymous says:

            This is such a dumb response. You can only practice law in another jurisdiction if you hold a practising certificate for that jurisdiction. It works both ways. Also,just as Hong Kong laws are not applicable in Cayman, neither are Cayman laws applicable in Hong Kong. Cayman simply does not have the capacity to make its own laws and impose them on the rest of the world.

      • Anonymous says:

        So how do you explain the fact that almost 50 Caymanians have worked in overseas offices and many are doing so right now! That sounds like providing opportunities not depriving opportunities! It is clear what the bullshit is.

        • Anonymous says:

          Are them and the firms. You will see a pattern.

        • Anonymous says:

          Please list them and name the firms. It will be particularly interesting to know which of them were Caymanian when they became Cayman qualified lawyers!

          • Anonymous says:

            Born Caymanians and if you don’t know them then you shouldn’t be commenting on this article.

      • Anonymous says:

        You misunderstand the issue. The issue is that a Cayman qualified lawyer cannot also work an practitioner in other commonwealth country practicing the law of that country. Yes the Cayman lawyer can practice Cayman law in BVI…but what if the Caymanian wants to also practice BVI Law in BVI, he simply cannot do so.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly. So it is not a barrier to a Caymanian practicing Cayman law in a foreign office!

          • Anonymous says:

            Caymanians want to practice foreign law too. Why should we stop them?

            • Anonymous says:

              Well, you stop them practicing Cayman Law, I would assume you would not want them practicing any other.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes they can if they do the additional work required to meet the additional educational requirements to practice law in other jurisdictions and thereby obtain the relevant practising certificate(s).

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually they do understand that. Obviously you don’t understand that is the case only because we have no code of conduct- these sole practitioners aren’t opposing a code of conduct. This before you post.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Bottom line is under the current law, the legal profession is NOT properly regulated in Cayman and if our clients or detractors were to fully grasp the potential implications of that, it would severely undermine our jurisdiction’s credibility. It’s about 5 pages long with zero relevance to the practice of law today – there is not even a code of conduct! Yes, the Minister must take into account the constructive feedback provided e.g. that provided by the litigators at the Family Life Center meeting but this bill (with minor tweaks) must be passed as soon as possible. To stick with the current law is to reinforce the status quo and all of the Wild West mentality that goes with it. Only in Cayman would we pretend that doing nothing is doing something.

    • Anonymous says:

      This law does absolutely NOTHING to modernise the profession or to make a career in law more accessible to Caymanians. It merely seeks to protect the elite already in the profession.

    • Anonymous says:

      I find this comment somewhat one-sided considering that the jurisdiction is sold to clients all over the world as the best and top notch. What credibility issue?

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody suggested keeping the current law! The people who oppose have all the relevant amendments and even an alternative law which is much better than the 2016 bill and it protects caymanians and the jurisdiction!

    • Anonymous says:

      Love that reasoning- the firms have been playing Wild West so now we must pass anything they want to remedy it. How about passing a law that actually protects Cayman instead of just the big firms- it has already been drafted- the PPM are just chasing to ignore it and try to pass the 2016 Bill instead. Deep pockets pleased just in time for elections.

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