Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Bar association statement on Isat Buchanan editorial

Published:Thursday | November 16, 2023 | 12:08 AM


The Gleaner editorial titled ‘A reprimand for Buchanan’, published on November 10, opined on ongoing disciplinary proceedings involving attorney-at-law Isat Buchanan in respect of certain public statements he made against the director of public prosecutions.

Mr Buchanan pleaded guilty before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council, which is now to deliver what it considers to be the appropriate sanction for Mr Buchanan’s admitted professional misconduct.

Although the proceedings are still pending and JAMBAR offers no further comment on the subject matter of the complaint or sanction, it is necessary to address the editorial’s posture.

The Disciplinary Committee is a quasi-judicial body which serves an important, legitimate and public purpose in upholding the standards of professional conduct by attorneys-at-law and enforcing discipline in the legal profession. It is part of the established rule of law.

Also part of the established rule of law is the principle that no one should attempt to influence or otherwise interfere with the outcome of judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings. The Gleaner’s editorial sought to do just that. While we are confident that the panel of the Disciplinary Committee will not be swayed by The Gleaner’s opinion, it was wholly inappropriate for a national newspaper to have published that editorial before the conclusion of the matter.

We are proud to be part of a self-regulating profession. We are judged by our peers according to the high standards of professional conduct that we created for ourselves. The attorneys who make up the Disciplinary Committee are all eminently qualified to adjudge complaints through to sanction.

If a party does not agree with that decision, the appropriate course is to appeal to the Court of Appeal.