Access to Law Governing the Legal Profession: You may obtain a copy of the LPA from the Government Printery upon payment of a small charge instead of having to read through obscure books to know what your rights are.
*Professional Indemnity Insurance: Each attorney-at-law in private practice must be covered by professional indemnity insurance. If you successfully claim against your attorney-at-law for negligent work or advice, you can recover your judgment from an insurance company instead of an impecunious or clever individual.
* Disciplinary proceedings: A Council established by the LPA, comprised as follows, can hear complaints of wrongdoing by attorneys-at-law: a judge, the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General in his absence, a nominee of the Conference of Churches, two (2) members of the public selected by the Governor-General; and three (3) attorneys-at-law, nominated by the Grenada Bar Association.
The Secretary to the Council is the Registrar, whose office can assist with lodging complaints without the assistance of an attorney-at-law.
* Your attorney’s-at-law ability to provide competent legal advice: Your attorney-at-law must keep himself/herself current on changes in the law by continuing legal education.
* Your right to an account: Your attorney-at-law has three (3) months after your demand to give you an account of all monies, not being fees paid for his/her services, held for you.
*Your moneys are protected from the attorney-at-law’s personal indebtedness: Each attorney-at-law who holds funds for his/her client must open an account he/she must tell the Bank is a client account, so that the Bank will not deduct from those monies to service personal debts of the attorney-at-law.
* Your attorney-at-law must not profit from your monies: The LPA is clear that an attorney-at-law must not hold his client’s monies on an interest-bearing account.
* Your protections under the LPA only apply when you hire a practicing attorney-at-law: A person who is not qualified to act as an attorney-at-law, or who has been disbarred, but acts as one, or an attorney-at-law who facilitates any such person, may, if charged and found guilty, be charged up to $20,000.00 AND sent to prison for up to two (2) years, and the person who facilitates can be disbarred.
* Your attorney’s obligation on dispute resolution: Where appropriate, an attorney-at-law must advise his/her client to attempt to settle the dispute. He/she is not colluding with the other side because he/she suggests a likely quicker, cheaper, and more effective option.
* When can an attorney-at-law represent you and another person(s) on the same transaction/matter: An attorney-at-law may
represent multiple clients:
(a) only if he/she can adequately represent the interest of each;
(b). if each consents to such representation;
(c). after he has explained fully the possible effects of such representation;
(d). Being lender and borrower or seller and purchaser, only after each of them has had independent legal advice, and each presents to the attorney-at-law his/her written consent to such joint representation.
* The following attorneys-at-law employed by Government cannot lawfully act for you for a fee: Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, Director of Public Prosecutions, Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Senior Crown Counsel, Senior Legal Counsel, Parliamentary Counsel, Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Legal Drafter, Crown Counsel and or Magistrate.
(The above reflects the views of the Grenada Bar Association)