Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today.
by Steve Prescott
I read, with interest, Mr Caswell Franklyn’s article.
It leaves me curious because, reading between the lines, and not wishing to detract from the equally serious point of the article, I wondered if there was another “rhetorical” even subliminal question being asked, i.e. about these two eminent politicians; Mr Franklyn and the Honourable Prime Minister.
Mr Franklyn is a trade unionist. As far as I am aware, even as an elected lawmaker, he has never held himself out to be a lawyer. But that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t mean he can’t interpret the law.
You don’t necessarily need to be a well-practised lawyer recognised by the Barbados Bar Association to comment on or analyse the law. On this he appears to do a pretty good and quite necessary job. He’s probably doing the lawyerly tactic and asking the question he already knows the answer to.
I’ve often been asked, should anyone be in doubt, as to what it takes to become “qualified”, and earn the QC title. The training regime in the UK & Barbados seems clear and rigourous.
In short, both jurisdictions require a qualifying law degree obtained after three years of study, for example, at UWI, the London School of Economics or elsewhere; finalised at 2:1 or above. That will qualify you to proceed to the next stage of your legal training. You are not recognised as an attorney with just a law degree.
Then you study at Law School on either the Legal Education Certificate (Caribbean) or from 2010, the Bar Professional Training course (for Barristers). For example, to become a Barrister, in say, 1986, you studied for the Bar but first you must join an Inn of Court (Lincolns Inn, Middle Temple, Grays Inn & Inner Temple). It is not possible to commence your year-long professional training in the UK without first joining an Inn of Court.
If you satisfactorily complete your post-grad training in both jurisdictions (the two year LEC in Barbados) you are then called to the Bar. You cannot be called to the Bar without going through this process.
In the UK your training continues for the next year in pupillage in a Law Chambers; the first six months are non-practising; under supervision of the Law firm, at the end of which, if they are pleased with you, you will be eligible for a Practice Certificate.
Suffice it to say, for example, if you complete your pupillage but do not obtain a practice certificate it is an offence to practise.
Then for the well “practised” Barrister/Attorney there is one more title you can obtain – Queen’s Counsel (QC). This prestigious and not easily obtained title is for those who have spent at least 10 years excelling in their particular field. To achieve that, you have to pay for your application and supply your best 12 cases and explain why you should be considered to have reached the pinnacle of your profession. Only an interview with a panel will determine if the title of QC should be given to you. It’s my understanding that in Barbados the path to QC’dom is shrouded in secrecy.
… and that’s it, pretty much. You can then go to the Bar Standards Board website or the Barbados Bar Association website and see if the relevant people are “registered”.
There may be many questions being asked of the PM these days…I just wondered if this was one of them? Just asking. I’d be grateful for a reply.
Steve Prescott is an attorney at law.