Parliament passes bill to protect attorneys' clients
The House of Representatives has passed a Bill aimed at enhancing the conduct of attorneys at law and protecting their clients’ interests.
The Bill entitled ‘An Act to amend the Legal Profession Amendment Act’, contains provisions empowering the General Legal Council to take specified actions to protect the money, property or documents of an attorney’s clients.
Among other things, the Bill requires institutions holding funds for an attorney’s clients to pay over such funds to the Council to be deposited in a special account for the benefit of the clients.
And Attorney General, Patrick Atkinson, says it will also empower the Council to obtain a Court Order to take charge of client accounts where a lawyer ceases to practice in Jamaica or has been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty.
Atkinson says the Council can also apply for a court order where the lawyer is declared to be of unsound mind or too ill to administer the client’s affairs.
The Bill also empowers the Council to make regulations requiring attorneys to furnish accountant’s reports and to institute a programme of continuing legal professional development for attorneys.