Published On: Thu, Mar 21st, 2013

New draft for lawyers’ ordinance goes to Justice Minister

Court houseWILLEMSTAD --President of Curacao’s Bar Association Caroline Fiévez presented a rough draft for a new national ordinance regarding lawyers to Minister of Justice Nelson Navarro recently. The existing legislation on attorneys from 1959 is outdated and should have been revised years ago.

The bar associations of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten have now joined hands and presented a new proposal. They were assisted by Jan de Boer, member of the Dutch Caribbean Court of Justice and member of the Constitutional Court of St. Maarten, while the other judges of the joint court were also consulted.

The most important aspects are the following:

-All attorneys are obligated to become a member of the Bar, which is currently not the case. About 30 of the approximately 195 lawyers on Curaçao are not a member. -The Bar has a limited statutory authority, in the interest of a good practice of the profession. With that, the Bar becomes a public body as meant in article 110 of the Constitution of Curaçao. The regulations are binding for all Curaçao attorneys and for the visiting attorneys from Aruba, Bonaire and St. Maarten. The Minister of Justice will arrange for a preventative test.

-The Bar has the possibility is to establish a regulation regarding a compulsory professional training for novice attorneys (interns), closed off with an exam. The existing professional training, provided by the “Stichting Beroepsopleiding Advocaten Curaçao” is not mandatory.

-The Bar is offered the possibility -through a regulation- to introduce a system of compulsory permanent training for attorneys who’ve completed their apprenticeship. Such a system contributes to a responsible practice of profession in the long term. “Every lawyer should, for example, obtain a number of training points per year by following a course, give one lecture or publish articles on the profession. It goes without saying that when the times come, this obligation is implemented gradually and is geared to the practical possibility,” the draft states.

For the most part, the regulation on disciplinary rulings remains the same, except that complaints against attorneys must be submitted to the president of the bar association. The latter, or the substitute, will study the complaint and mediate. If a compromise isn’t possible, the complaint can be presented to the Supervisory Council (as is currently the case) with the possibility to appeal to the Court of Appeals.

A judge is also seated in both the Supervisory Council and the Court of Appeal. If the Minister of Justice and the Council of Ministers approve the proposals, they will be presented to the Advisory Council. The draft will subsequently go to Parliament. The aim is that the new regulation will become effective on January 1, 2014.

Dutch Caribbean Business

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