The Bar Council of the Turks and Caicos Islands has embarked upon an urgent review of the complaints and disciplinary process prescribed in the Legal Profession Ordinance (LPO). The LPO is the Ordinance which governs the admission of attorneys and the practice of law in the Turks and Caicos Islands, including the handling of complaints against such attorneys.
Presently the LPO prescribes various procedures and timelines which the Bar Council must follow when complaints have been filed against one of the members of the Bar Association. The LPO was first introduced to the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1997 and while at that time the provisions related to complaints and disciplinary actions against members was satisfactory, the Bar Council has now found those provisions to be obsolete and prohibitive to dealing with complaints against attorneys expeditiously.
The Code of Professional Conduct set out in the LPO stipulates that attorneys must conduct themselves at all times with honesty, trustworthiness, accountability, and respect and must refrain from any action which would bring the legal profession into disrepute. The Bar Council’s aim in undertaking the review is to assure the public that their complaints lodged against members are taken seriously and to restore the current reputation of our growing, but small and fragile fraternity which is being tarnished by a small minority of legal professionals.
Speaking of the review, President of the Bar Council Selvyn Hawkins said “The Bar Council is currently reviewing the and will be recommending reforms for expedited implementation in the very near future. In summary, the current provisions do not provide the kind of robust complaints and disciplinary framework and procedure needed to effectively deter misconduct and to hold accountable those who contravene the Professional Code of Conduct.”