High hopes that lawyers bill will pass

| 12/01/2017 | 1 Comment
CNS Business

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin greets a police officer outside the courthouse

(CNS Business): At the opening of the Grand Court Wednesday, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin and the leaders of the two legal professional bodies were all in agreement that the latest draft of the Legal Practitioners Bill was a compromise that most of the profession could support. The attorneys all expressed the hope that this year the bill would finally be passed by the Legislative Assembly after more than a decade of controversy. Bulgin said that everyone was familiar with the history of the law but he was confident “that an acceptable compromise will be achieved”.

Alasdair Robertson, the president of the Cayman Islands Law Society, was enthusiastic about the most recent draft of the long overdue legislation, and said that in CILS’s view the latest version was “the best attempt to bring a balanced modern law into effect”.

Robertson said he believed it balanced protectionism with the need to compete globally, allowing growth while enhancing opportunities for Caymanians in the future. He said it would keep “control of the practice of law overseas within Cayman but allows Cayman to compete on a global basis”, as he pointed to the importance of the legal profession and the need to give comfort to clients and stakeholders that complaints could be dealt with, enhancing Cayman as a place to do business.

“The bill reflects many of the points needed for the profession to succeed in a highly competitive global market as well as the need to promote Caymanian advancement within the profession and reflects a lot of compromise of various interests within the profession to reach that objective,” he said.

Robertson said the majority within the profession supported this latest bill, with over 77% of the Caymanian Bar Association members and over 85% of CILS members backing the bill. He said it was the larger, multi-jurisdictional law firms that were key to the local legal business and the reason why over 200 Caymanians are now working in the profession.

“These firms offer articles and employment to Caymanians once qualified, creating opportunities for Caymanians to be part of the legal profession without having to go overseas,” he said. “Currently the largest 14 multi-national law firms in the Cayman Islands employ 134 of the 200 Caymanian attorneys, not to mention that over 45 of these lawyers have had the opportunity to be seconded to the overseas offices. The operation of overseas offices increases job opportunities in the legal profession here, rather than taking away work from Cayman.”

Abraham Thoppil, the president of the Caymanian Bar Association, also welcomed the law, though he raised his concerns that the immigration regime in Cayman in general still presented a problem to both Caymanian and ex-pat lawyers. (See Cayman bar chief takes aim at immigration law)

He congratulated government “on grasping the nettle” and presenting a bill that the CBA could support, promising a new era for the profession.

“In the past there has been much ill-informed debate, sometimes including those who neither read nor understood what was proposed,” he said. “We hope for an informed debate on the LP bill.”

Pointing to the thousands of man-hours spent on drafting the law, he warned that the law “will not, and cannot, resolve all the issues facing Caymanian lawyers”.

The bill is expected to be debated in the Legislative Assembly later this month when it meets for the last time in this administration.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services, Law

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Not at all what the ag actually said

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