The new Disciplinary Committee is headed by Mr. Anthony Gonsalves, who has been appointed Chairman under the authority of the Legal Profession Act.
The members of the committee were appointed by Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Justice Sir Hugh Rawlins.
Gonsalves will serve as chairman while Mr. Emile Ferdinand will serve as his deputy. Other members are Mr. Charles Wilkin, CMG, Q.C., (ex-officio); Mr. Tapley Seaton, Q.C.; Ms. Patricia Dublin-Lewis; Mr. Arundranauth Gossai; Mr. Jeffery Nisbett and Mr. Mark Brantley. The Registrar or Deputy Registrar is to be Secretary of the Committee.
According to the Legal Profession Act, the Disciplinary Committee is established for the purpose of dealing with complaints against attorneys-at-law.
It states, “A person who alleges that an act of professional misconduct has been committed by an attorney-at-law other than the Attorney General or a law officer, may apply to the Committee to require the attorney-at-law to answer allegations contained in an affidavit made by that person.
In any matter or hearing before any court, where the court considers that an act referred to in subsection (1) has been committed by an attorney-at-law other than the Attorney General or a law officer, the court may make or cause the Registrar to make an application to the committee in respect of the attorney at law in that subsection.
A complaint against an attorney-at-law for misconduct shall not be brought more than one year after (a) the date of occurrence of the facts giving rise to the complaint; or (b) the date of knowledge of the facts giving rise to the complaint of the complainant.
The Disciplinary Committee shall have the powers of the Court to summon witnesses, call for the production of books and documents and examine witnesses and parties concerned on oath.”
The law states that a conviction of an attorney-at-law of a criminal offence may, for the purposes of disciplinary proceedings against him, be accepted by the Committee as proof of his having committed the offence.
An attorney-at-law aggrieved by a decision given or penalty imposed by the Committee may appeal against that decision or penalty to the Court of Appeal.
It also states that upon an appeal under this section, the Court of Appeal may affirm or set aside the decision or penalty appealed against or may substitute any other decision or penalty which the Committee could have made or imposed or remit the matter to the Committee for a rehearing.
The Court may also order the removal from the Roll the name of the attorney-at-law against whom disciplinary proceedings have been instituted; order suspending the attorney-at-law from.
practice for such time as the Court deems fit; order as to costs, as regards both the proceedings before it and the proceedings before the Committee as the Court deems fit or such further or other order as the circumstances of the case may require.