Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall. (FP)
Attorney General Dale Marshall has praised the diverse skills set of the 32 new attorneys-at-law who were called to the bar yesterday, saying the island needs a mix of all skills.
Addressing a special sitting in the Court of Appeal, the Attorney General said the COVID-19 pandemic had “truly upended” the practice of law, as lawyers were now forced to be more creative in all ways of the legal practice.
“I am heartened though, My Lord Chief Justice, Justices of Appeal, Justices of the High Court, having read the CVs of every single one of these applicants, that these are the individuals who will do credit to the legal profession in these difficult times. Their skills set range from artist to social activist…from people interested in company law to people interested in human rights and the third sector. Barbados today needs a mix of all legal skills.”
“Mr. Marshall continued: ‘I am truly satisfied…that these applicants are all, without exception, well and truly qualified and worthy to be admitted to the practice of law in this jurisdiction.”
The AG added that 2020 had been a difficult year and one which called for a rethink of how systems functioned; how we worked and study as we adopted more COVID friendly options.
Mr. Marshall said, nonetheless, the pandemic had presented opportunities in the use of modern technology and there “can now be no reluctance by the justice system in all of its parts to fully embrace technology in the conduct of the dispensation of justice and those who don’t embrace this, run the risk of being left behind – both Bar and Bench”.
He told the gathering that the Caribbean Court of Justice had conducted appeals from this jurisdiction without anyone having to travel to the Court’s headquarters in Port-of-Spain Trinidad.
“It is natural, I suppose, to be afraid of the new, but the efficiencies and benefits stare us in the face and will simply not be denied. But it wouldn’t be entirely wrong to paint a picture of a new face to the justice system without acknowledging the great challenges, especially in a COVID and post COVID environment.”
He urged the new attorneys not to be daunted by the challenges that lie ahead in an environment characterised by retrenchment and uncertain job security that has led to transactions, such as mortgages, being put on hold.