Tue | Aug 21, 2018

Seymour Panton | Attorneys, stop trying cases in public

Published:Wednesday | July 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Some attorneys-at-law have been misguidedly giving interviews and making speeches on radio and television, and in the press, in respect of cases that are actually in progress before the courts of the land.

I have spoken about this improper practice on several occasions, one such occasion being at a public forum at the Norman Manley Law School. In the audience were students as well as many senior attorneys-at-law and the then attorney general.

I am very surprised that the General Legal Council and the various Bar associations have chosen to be asleep while the practice continues. It is a matter that I think they will regret in due course, if they do not act and rein in these attorneys-at-law.

It seems to me that these attorneys, by their utterances, are seeking to influence the jurors who are trying the cases, and the judges who are hearing the arguments, outside the confines of the courtroom. They are, of course, projecting one side of the story - their side. That is not a fair attitude. That is a side blow to our system of justice.

Quite apart from seeking to influence the tribunals outside the courtroom, they are indulging in advertising themselves. There is one school of thought that lawsuits may be brought by clients who, having been influenced by such advertisements, retain attorneys-at-law who do not produce the results the clients were led to expect.

I say to the legal profession: halt this trend!

Seymour Panton

Former President, Court of Appeal