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Bar Legal Aid Sub Committee

Spearheaded by former President Richard Horseman and Senior Legal Aid Counsel Susan Moore-Williams, the Bar Legal Aid Sub-Committee is tasked with opening dialogue between members who regularly provide Legal Aid services, the Legal Aid Office, the Legal Aid Committee, and Bar Council.

 

New Chairman and current President of the Bar Association Karen Williams-Smith meets with the appointed members of the sub-committee on a by-annual basis, traditionally meeting during the months of July & January of each year. She is joined on the committee by Susan Moore-Williams (Senior Legal Aid Counsel) , Elizabeth Christopher (Bar Council), Dantae Williams (Bar member) and Richard Horseman (Past President of the Bar).

 

The Sub Committee is tasked with dealing with matters concerning members of the Bar that relate to Legal Aid and to open dialogue with the Legal Aid Committee. Past discussions have included subject matters such as - How to speed up Legal Aid payments, Increased number of sole practitioners who are sharing office space, Application process for attorneys seeking to be  listed on Legal Aid Rosters, Judicial Review cases and impact on Legal Aid Policies and Procedures, Consideration of increases in contributions, payment plans for persons who have been granted legal aid in criminal matters, and Consideration of potential solutions to address the lack of transcribers available on island.

 

Members who have concerns are encouraged to email the new Committee Chair Karen Williams-Smith ksmith@td.bm to have their matter added to the Agenda. Should any current member of the Bar wish to be considered for appointment to this committee, please contact the Bar Office.

 

Mandatory attendance at a Legal Aid Educational training session to run twice a year

Existing attorneys wishing to, or who want to continue to undertake Legal Aid work must attend this mandatory training session once a year in order to be added to or remain on the Legal Aid Roster. The introduction of this new mandatory class entitled “All You Want to Know About Legal Aid And Were Too Busy to Ask” will ensure a collaborative understanding of what is expected of members of the Bar wishing to provide Legal Aid services to the public. The presentation is and will provide a general outline of all aspects of the Legal Aid Scheme including policies, expectations of counsel undertaking legal matters, billing, and taxation guidelines. This will hopefully work to benefit both parties as it will open communication between members and the Legal Aid Office.

 

The first of three sessions was hosted by Senior Legal Aid Counsel Susan Moore-Williams on 27 September 2017 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Bar Office. The next sessions has been scheduuled for 7 February 2018 with a further date to be decided in September of 2018.

 

Newly admitted attorneys, or members who wish to provide Legal Aid services are also encouraged sessions. Members in attendance will receive Legal Education Credits which will count towards your annual renewal with the Bar requirements. Members will be provided with three (3) opportunities to attend at least one (1) class prior to the end of September 2018 for mandatory implementation by the Legal Aid Office for practice year January 2019. Attendance is required in at least one class annually as it will be tied into your eligibility to receive the Legal Aid discounted Bar member rate going forward for the 2019 practice year.  

 

The list of Barristers & Attorneys approved to provide Legal Aid services and who attended the September 2017 session are as follows: TO FOLLOW

 

Members, if your name does not appear on the list, you will have two further opportunities to attend a mandatory session prior to implementation of the new policy. If there is an error on the list, please contact the Bar Office with your enquiry.

 

Qualifying for the Bermuda Bar Association Legal Aid annual dues discounted rate at 50%

All Barristers & Attorneys wishing to qualify for discounted member fees payable to the Bar Association must attest to having completed approximately 500 hours of Legal Aid service annually by the 30 of September of each year for the discounted rate to be invoiced in October and applied for the following 1 January practicing year.

 

In 2007, Bar Council introduced an incentive for attorneys to provide Legal Aid Services to the Legal Aid Office by introducing a discounted rate of annual dues. The rate is heavily discounted at 50% taking the average cost of licensing from $1,455 to $727.50 per year (depending on years of admission to the Bar). Since the inception of the discounted rate, the scheme has grown leaps and bounds from having 3 members of the Bar qualifying for the discounted rate to, on average, 30 members qualifying on an annual basis.

 

To ease the application process to qualify for the discounted rate, Bar Council with the support of the Legal Aid Office has now introduced a log sheet format for members wishing to qualify for this privilege (log form attached). We’ve kept the form simple and unobtrusive so as not to burden or discourage Barristers and Attorneys from submitting the form. The “Legal Aid Record Log Form” is to be submitted to the Bar Association Office by 30 September of each year. You are required to use this form as proof of having provided legal services to the Legal Aid Office under the Legal Aid Scheme. This submission will be cross checked by the Legal Aid Office for accuracy. Once approved, Bar Council will apply the discounted membership rate to your invoice which is traditionally mailed out during the month of October with payment of annual dues to be submitted by 30 September of each year for the following practicing year.  Members, please note that this requirement will be implemented for the 2018 year. Barristers & Attorneys who do not produce this record will be charged annual dues for 2018 at the full rate.

 

Bar Council would like to take this opportunity to thank members who provide Legal Aid services to the public under the Legal Aid Scheme. We would also like to encourage newly admitted members to please join this honourable group of members who provide this essential service.   

 

Helpful information for Barristers & Attorneys

The Legal Aid Office

20 Victoria Street

Hamilton HM 12

Bermuda

(directly opposite Primes' Place Restaurant)

 

Tel: 297-7617

 

Website: https://www.gov.bm/department/legal-aid-office

 

Business hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Closed for lunch from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.