The 11th Regional Law Conference of the OECS Bar Association has been described as highly engaging and successful by its President, Mr Ruggles Ferguson. He was at the time speaking at a Gala Dinner on Saturday night, September 13. He also took the opportunity to commend the Anguilla Law Conference Committee for organising the event.

Officials of Anguilla and the Judiciary

The three-day event, at CuisinArt Resort & Spa, commenced on Friday September 12. Ms Jean Dyer, the Law Conference Coordinator and Secretary of the Anguilla Bar Association, served as chairperson for the opening ceremony.

“This conference is made all the more special because it is in our lovely island of Anguilla and, also, it marks the 25th Anniversary of the OECS Bar Association,” Ms Dyer said in her opening remarks. “The OECS has, for the last 25 years, championed the cause of our justice system in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and as such this is a very significant milestone. On this occasion, we have assembled a team of distinguished Jurists to present on various matters which we consider to be of compelling topical interest over the course of the next two years, and therefore we look forward to your active participation in this our 11th Regional Law Conference.”

Mr Ruggles Ferguson, President of the OECS Bar Association, said, in his welcome remarks, that the Law Fair, renamed Law Conference, had been growing from strength to strength over the past eleven years. This is the second time that the event was held in Anguilla, the first having been in 2006. “We really have to thank the Anguilla Bar Association and our Law Fair Committee, led by Jean, and our efficient secretary, Yvette, because a very special effort was made to ensure that this Law Fair comes off because, at this time of the year, all the hotels are shutdown. It is the closed season. As a result of Herculean efforts and the persuasive approach of our Law Fair team, we were able to get this hotel, and other hotels, to be part of this historic activity.”

Anguilla’s Chief Minister, Mr Hubert Hughes, welcomed the judges and lawyers to Anguilla with great pleasure. “Whether by coincidence, given the rotation of this conference between the OECS islands over the years or not, Anguilla feels proud to be able to host all of you to this event,” he said. “The occasion is made all the more special by the fact that it also celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the OECS Bar Association. It is rather heartening to hear of all the proud work being done in keeping with the mandate given to constituent Bars.

Ms Jean Dyer

“Law Week is now a fixture on the annual calendar of the various Bar Associations with a wide-ranging and comprehensive programme of activities,” Mr Hughes stated. “These have included visits to secondary schools by lawyers to sensitise students about the constitution and other important law topics; visits to the Magistracy and High Courts by students to obtain firsthand experience of the legal system; visits to the Prisons; engaging officials; a pro bona day; debates; radio and television programmes on legal topics of public interest; mentoring programmes and donations to charity, just to name a few.”

The Chief Minister added: “I am also extremely happy that Anguilla has had two such events and I commend you all for giving back to the various communities. “This Law Conference and the value to which the OECS Bar Association has elevated continuing legal education, given the calibre of its participants, is representative of a commitment to all of our islands’ development and to the fostering of even greater professionalism within the legal fraternity. “I wish you a productive conference and hope that your efforts will more effectively and collectively tackle the issues affecting the administrative of justice.”

Dame Janice Pereira, Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, urged all constituent Bars of the OECS Bar Association to attend the annual Law Conferences. She said this was “so important in terms of continuing legal education and the ability to share experiences and indeed to learn from each other.

“I take this opportunity on my own behalf, and also on behalf of all the Judges of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, to wish the OECS Bar Association a very fruitful Law Conference this year – and also best wishes in the continued hard work of the Association.”

The conference was declared open by Mr John Benjamin QC, the youngest “Founding Father” of the OECS Bar Association, followed by brief remarks by Ms Yvette Wallace, President of the Anguilla Bar Association, who joined in welcoming the conference participants to Anguilla.

The topics and presenters for the Regional Law Conference were as follows: Resolving Jurisdictional Conflicts in Insolvency Matters by Mr David Lord QC, UK; and Mr John Carrington QC, BVI; Multi-tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses; Best Practice & Enforcement of Obligations to Negotiate in Good Faith by Sir Trevor Carmichael QC, Barbados; Confiscation and Asset Recovery (Civil & Criminal) Under Proceeds of Crime Act by Mr Andrew Mitchell QC, UK; Law Practice Management in times of Austerity (more for less: efficiency, charging structures and client relationship management) by Norman Clark (Walker Clark LLC, USA); and Election Petitions: Withstanding Interlocutory Strike Out Applications by Mr I. D. Mitchell, CBE, QC.