Attorney-at-law Michael Fay, KC has ridiculed the current state of the BVI’s Legal Profession Act, describing it as rushed and needing amendment.
The law, in part, speaks to how attorneys are to be called to the Bar in order to practice law in the BVI and was a particular source of contention during the Commission of Inquiry
“The state of the Legal Profession Act is an embarrassment to the BVI, I’m afraid to say,” Fay stated while addressing the Opening of the Law Year 2023 of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC).
Some parts make no sense
Even as he acknowledged that the law had previously been amended — twice on the same day in one instance — Fay urged further amendment.
“There are still parts of it that make no sense, with the result that various provisions have not yet been brought into force, including the provisions for admission,” Fay explained.
As a result, the attorney said the territory still relies on provisions pursuant to Section 67 of the ECSC.
In addition, Fay argued that there are also concerns about legislation being rushed through the BVI’s House of Assembly (HOA), with some recorded instances of all three parliamentary required readings being done in the same day.
He described the Legal Profession Act as a clear example of legislation that was rushed through the legislature, without proper thought being given to it.
In the meantime, Fay expressed surprise that not much of the COI
’s work was subject to the court’s review.
He pointed out that the only matter that came before the court, didn’t concern the COI
’s actual work, per se, but rather, concerned the question of whether the COI
’s lawyers were entitled to perform their functions in the BVI without being admitted to the BVI Bar.
“Unfortunately, the Commission of Inquiry
concluded its work and the lawyers left the territory before that issue was determined,” Fay commented.