Under the Legal Profession Act 1986 the Council exercises a number of powers on behalf of the membership/Association. The powers exercisable are by virtue of the following sections: -
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(Part 2): - Law Association
(a) Section 8- “ The Council may confer honorary membership in the Association on such distinguished lawyers as it may think fit and may in its discretion revoke any such membership”.
(b) Section 12(1)- “The amount of the annual subscription payable by members other than honorary members of the Association shall, subject to subsection (5), be fixed by the Council and shall be paid to the Association through the Registrar”.
(c) Section 12(3)- “In fixing the annual subscription the Council may divide the members into classes and provide that different amounts shall be paid by different classes of members and for different periods, and generally regulate and vary from time to time the subscription payable by members or by different classes of members as the Council may think fit”.
(d) Section 12 (4)- “The Council may fix levies payable by practitioner members for any of the purposes of the Association”.
(e) Section 12(5)- “The annual subscription payable under subsection (1) and levies payable under subsection (4) shall not in any year exceed five hundred dollars per practitioner member or such greater sum as may be prescribed by resolution of a general meeting of the Association”.
(Part 4)- Professional Practice And Conduct (Accounts)
Section 33: - “The Council may make rules with respect to the keeping and operating of accounts of clients’ money by attorneys-at-law and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing such rules may-
(a) prescribe the type of clients’ accounts to be kept, the manner of operating them, the particulars to be recorded and the manner of recording them;
(b) empower the Council generally to take such action as may be necessary to enable them to ascertain whether the rules are being complied with”.
Section 34(1)- “ In order to protect clients against loss of money or property held on their behalf by attorneys-at-law, the Council shall have power, upon an order of a Judge of the High Court, to control the keeping and distribution of money held by a banker in any client’s account of an attorney-at-law”.
Section 35(4)- “The Council with the approval of the Chief Justice may amend the Third Schedule.
Section 43(2)- “Where it appears to the Council that an attorney-at-law has acted in contravention of this section the Council shall make application to the High Court for his name to be struck off the Roll”.
Part (5)- Remuneration (General)
Section 50(2)-“ If a client fails to obtain such a statement as is mentioned in subsection (1) after having made a demand therefor in accordance with that subsection, he may apply to the Council or a Judge in Chambers for an order requiring the attorney-at-law to deliver the statement, and the Council or the Judge may on the making of that order give such other directions as it or he thinks fit”.
Recovery of Costs
Section 52 (1)- “The Association may, with the approval of the Chief Justice and the Minister, make rules prescribing and regulating the remuneration of attorneys-at-law in respect of non-contentious business”.
Part (6)- Compensation Fund
Section 54 (2)- “ The Fund (established under Section 54(1)) shall be the property of the Council who shall hold it as trustee for the purposes of this Act”.
Section 55(2)- “The Council shall maintain and administer the Fund in accordance with the provisions of Part B of the Sixth Schedule”.
Section 57(1)- “Where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Council that any person has sustained loss in consequence of dishonesty on the part of an attorney-at-law or any clerk or servant of an attorney-at-law in connection with any trust of which that attorney-at-law is a trustee, then subject to the provisions of this section the Council may, if it thinks fit, make a grant to that person out of the Fund for the purposes of relieving or mitigating that loss”.
Section 57(3)- “ On the making by the Council of any grant under this section to any person in respect of any loss-
(a) the Council shall, to the amount of that grant be subrogated to any rights and remedies in respect of that loss of the person to whom the grant is made or of the attorney-at-law, clerk or servant; and
(b) the person to whom the grant is made shall have no right under bankruptcy or other legal proceedings or otherwise to receive any sum out of the assets of the attorney-at-law, clerk or servant in respect of the loss until the Council has been reimbursed the full amount of its grant”.
Section 57(5)- “ The Council may make rules with respect to the procedure to be followed in giving effect to the provisions of this section and of the Sixth Schedule and with respect to any matters incidental, ancillary or supplemental to those provisions or concerning the administration or protection of the Fund”.
Section 57(7)- “ For the purposes of enquiring into any matters which may affect the making or refusal of a grant under this section the Council or any committee appointed by the Council and authorised by it to exercise any of its functions may administer oaths”.
Section 58(1)- “ Where the Council, on a complaint being made to it against an attorney-at-law, is satisfied that he has failed to account for money due to a person in connection with his practice as an attorney-at-law or in connection with any trust of which he is a trustee, and that that person has suffered or is likely to suffer hardship in consequence of the failure, the Council may, subject to this section, make to that person a grant (hereafter in this section called a “hardship grant”) out of the Fund”.
Section 58(4)(a)-“ A hardship grant may be made either unconditionally or subject to the conditions of this subsection, and if the Council determines that it shall be so subject and, when making the grant, gives to the person receiving the grant notice in writing of its determination-
(a) the Council shall to the amount of the grant be subrogated to any rights and remedies of that person in respect of any matters giving rise to the failure of the attorney-at-law to account….”
Section 58(6)- “The Council may make rules with respect to the procedure to be followed in giving effect to the provisions of this section and of the Sixth Schedule including rules as to the furnishing of particulars by a person appearing to be eligible for a hardship grant”.
Section 58(7)-“ For the purpose of enquiring into any matters which may affect the making or refusal of a hardship grant the Council or any Committee appointed by it and authorised by it to exercise any of its functions or to assist it in the exercise of any function may administer oaths”.
First Schedule- Part A (Council of Law Association)
Section 25(1)-“ All such powers, acts, or things which are not by this Act expressly authorised, directed or required to be exercised or done by the Association in General Meeting may, subject to this Act or any rules made thereunder or any resolution passed from time to time by the Association in General Meeting, be exercised or done by the Council”.
Section 25(2)-“No resolution of the Association passed under subparagraph (1) shall invalidate the previous exercise of any power or the previous doing of any act or thing by the Council which would have been valid if such resolution had not been passed”.
Section 26(1)-“ The Council shall have power to make rules to provide for all matters not expressly reserved to the Association in General Meeting –(whether the same be expressed to be among its powers or not) and for all such things as may appear to it to be necessary or desirable for carrying out its functions under this Act or any other enactment”.
Section 26(2)- “ Without prejudice to the generality of the power conferred by subparagraph (1) the Council may make rules on any of the following matters-
(a) the manner of nominating candidates;
(b) the manner of communicating to members the names of the persons nominated for election;
(c) the form of nomination paper and the ballot paper;
(d) the times at which the various steps in an election are to take place;
(e) the mode of voting; and
(f) the number of practitioner members (not being less than fifty) to constitute a quorum at a General Meeting”.
Sixth Schedule- Part B
Section 2-“ The Council may invest in securities in which trustees are authorised by law to invest trust funds in their hands, any moneys which form part of the Fund and are not immediately required for any of the purposes provided for in this Act”.
Section 3(1)-“ The Council may borrow for the purposes of the Fund from any Lender and may charge any investments of the Fund by way of security for any such loan”.
Section 4-“ The Council may insure with any person authorised by law to carry on insurance business in Trinidad and Tobago for such purposes and on such terms as the Council may deem expedient in relation to the Fund”.
Section 5-“ The accounts of the Fund shall be audited annually by an accountant appointed for the purpose by the Council”.