Bahamas Bar (Code of Professional Conduct) Regulations

Link to law: http://laws.bahamas.gov.bs/cms/images/LEGISLATION/SUBORDINATE/1981/1981-0022/BahamasBarCodeofProfessionalConductRegulations_1.pdf
Published: 1981-04-08

Bahamas Bar (Code of Professional Conduct) Regulations
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THE BAR PRACTICE REGULATIONS

(SECTION 40)
[Commencement 1st June, 1973]

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Bar
Practice Regulations.

2. Until other provision is made by law, the
practice followed immediately before the commencement
of these Regulations governing the matters for which
regulations may be made under paragraphs (a) and (b) of
section 40 of the Bahamas Bar Act, shall continue in full
force and effect.

THE BAHAMAS BAR (CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
CONDUCT) REGULATIONS

(SECTION 40)
[Commencement 8th April, 1981]

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Bahamas
Bar (Code of Professional Conduct) Regulations.

2. In these Regulations —
(a) a reference to an attorney is a reference to a

counsel and attorney as defined in the Act;
(b) the notes appended as a Commentary to each

Rule set out in the Schedule are only intended as
general guidelines as to the meaning, scope,
requirements and purpose of the respective Rule
and do not form part of the Rule.

3. Every attorney shall in the pursuit of the practice
of his profession comply with, and be subject to, the Rules
of Professional Conduct set out in the Schedule.

S.I. 36/1973

Citation.

Existing
arrangements for
practice and
accounts of the
Bar to remain in
force.

S.I. 22/1981

Citation.

Interpretation.

Code of conduct.

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SCHEDULE

THE BAHAMAS BAR ASSOCIATION

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

RULE I
INTEGRITY

The attorney must discharge his duties to the Court, his client,
members of the public and his fellow members of the profession
with integrity.

Commentary
1. Integrity is the fundamental quality of any person who

seeks to practise as a member of the legal profession. If the
client is in any doubt as to his attorney’s trustworthiness the
essential element in the true lawyer-client relationship will be
missing. If the attorney is lacking in personal integrity his
usefulness to his client and his reputation within the profession
will be destroyed, regardless of how competent an attorney may
be.

2. Dishonourable or questionable conduct on the part of the
attorney in either his private life or his professional activities
will reflect adversely to a greater or lesser degree upon the
integrity of the profession and the administration of law and
justice as a whole. If the conduct, whether within or outside the
professional sphere, is such that knowledge of it would be likely
to impair a client’s trust in the attorney as a professional
consultant, disciplinary action may be justified.

3. Generally speaking, however, the Bar Council will not
be concerned with the purely private or extra-professional
activities of an attorney which do not bring his professional
integrity or competence into question.

RULE II
COMPETENCE

The attorney must perform all the work and services which he
undertakes on behalf of his client in a competent manner, providing
a quality of service at least equal to that which attorneys generally
would expect of a competent attorney in a like situation.

Commentary
1. Competence in the context of the first branch of this Rule

goes beyond formal qualification of the attorney to practise law. It
has to do with the sufficiency of the attorney’s qualification to deal
with the matter in question and includes knowledge and skill and
the ability to use them effectively in the interests of the client.

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2 As a member of the legal profession, the attorney holds
himself out as knowledgeable, skilled and capable in the practice
of law. Accordingly his client is entitled to assume that he has
the ability and capacity to deal adequately with the legal matters
which he undertakes on the client’s behalf.

3. It follows that the attorney should not undertake a matter
unless he honestly believes that he is competent to handle it or that
he can become competent without undue delay, risk or expense to
his client. If the attorney proceeds on any other basis he is not being
honest with his client. This is an ethical consideration and is to be
distinguished from the standard of care which a court would invoke
for purposes of determining negligence.

4. Competence in a particular matter involves more than an
understanding of the relevant legal principles: it involves an
adequate knowledge of the practices and procedures by which
such principles can be effectively applied.

5. The attorney must be alert to recognize his lack of
competence for a particular task and the disservice he would do
his client if he undertook that task. If he is consulted in such
circumstances he should either decline to act or obtain his client’s
instructions to retain, consult or collaborate with an attorney who
is competent in that field. The attorney should also recognize that
competence for a particular task may require that he seek advice
from or collaborate with experts in scientific, accounting or other
non-legal fields, and he should not hesitate to seek his client’s
instructions to consult experts in such a situation.

6. Numerous examples could be given of conduct which does
not meet the quality of service required by the second branch of the
Rule. The list which follows is illustrative but not by any means
exhaustive —
(a) failure to keep the client reasonably informed;
(b) failure to answer reasonable requests from the client for

information;
(c) unexplained failure to respond to the client’s telephone

calls;
(d) failure to keep appointments with clients without

explanation or apology;
(e) informing the client that something will happen or that

some step will be taken by a certain date, then letting the
date pass without follow-up information or explanation;

(f) failure to answer within a reasonable time a communication
that requires a reply;

(g) doing the work in hand but doing it so belatedly that its
value to the client is diminished or lost;

(h) slipshod work, such as mistakes or omissions in statements
or documents prepared on behalf of the client;

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(i) failure to inform the client or to explain properly proposals
of settlement;

(j) withholding information from the client or misleading the
client as to the position of the matter to cover up the fact of
neglect or mistakes;

(k) self-induced disability, for example, from intoxicants or
drugs, which interferes with or prejudices the attorney’s
services to the client.
7. It will be noted that the Rule does not provide a standard

of perfection. A mistake even though it might be actionable for
damages in negligence would not necessarily constitute a failure
to maintain the standard set by the Rule, but evidence of gross
neglect in a particular matter or a pattern of neglect or mistake in
different matters may be evidence of such a failure regardless of
tortious liability. In the result, where both negligence and
incompetence are established damages may be awarded for the
former and the latter can give rise to the additional sanction of
disciplinary action.

8. The attorney who is incompetent does his client a
disservice, brings discredit on his profession and may bring the
administration of justice into disrepute. In addition, he damages
his own reputation and practice and may injure those who are
associated with or dependent upon him.

RULE III
ADVISING CLIENTS

The Attorney must be both candid and honest when
advising his client, acting in the discharge of his responsibilities
with the utmost good faith.

Commentary
1. The attorney’s duty to the client who seeks legal advice

from him is to give the client a competent opinion based on a
sufficient knowledge of the relevant facts, an adequate
consideration of the applicable law and the attorney’s own
experience and expertise. The advice must be open and
undisguised and must clearly disclose what the attorney honestly
thinks as to the merits and probable results.

2. Whenever it becomes apparent that the client has
misunderstood or misconceived his position or what is really
involved, the attorney should explain as well as advise, so that
the client is apprised of his true position and fairly advised with
respect to the real issues or questions involved.

3. The attorney should clearly indicate upon what facts,
circumstances and assumptions his opinion or advice is based, e.g.
in cases where the circumstances do not justify an exhaustive
investigation with the consequent expense to the client. However,


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unless the client instructs him otherwise, the attorney should
investigate the matter in sufficient detail to enable him to express
an opinion rather than mere comments with many qualifications.

4. The attorney should be wary of bold and confident
assurances to his client, especially when his employment may
depend upon his advising in a particular way.

5. The attorney should advise and encourage his client to
compromise or settle a dispute whenever it is possible to do so
on a reasonable basis and he should discourage his client from
commencing useless legal proceedings.

6. When advising his client the attorney must never
knowingly assist or encourage any dishonesty, fraud, crime or
illegal conduct or instruct his client as to how to violate the law
and avoid punishment. He should be on his guard against
becoming the tool or dupe of an unscrupulous client or those
who are associated with that client.

7. A bona fide test case is not necessarily precluded by the
preceding paragraph and so long as no injury to the person or
violence is involved it is not improper for the attorney to advise and
represent a client who in good faith and on reasonable grounds
desires to challenge or test a law and the test can most effectively
be made by means of a technical breach giving rise to a test case.

8. Apart altogether from the substantive law on the subject,
it is improper for the attorney to advise, threaten or bring a
criminal or quasi-criminal prosecution in order to secure some
civil advantage for his client or to advise, seek or procure the
withdrawal of a prosecution in consideration of the payment of
money or transfer of property to or for the benefit of his client.

9. In addition to his opinion as to the legal questions, the
attorney may be asked for or may be expected to give his views
as to non-legal matters such as the business, policy or social
implications involved in the question or as to the course the
client should choose. In many instances the attorney’s
experience will be such that his views on non-legal matters will
be of real benefit to his client. If the attorney does express views
on such matters, he should, where and to the extent necessary,
point out that he lacks experience or other qualification in the
particular field and he should clearly distinguish his legal advice
from such other advice.

10. The duty to give honest and candid advice requires the
attorney to inform the client promptly when the attorney discovers
that a mistake, which is or may be damaging to the client and which
cannot readily be rectified, has been made in connection with a
matter for which he is responsible. The attorney should expeditiously
deal with any claim which may be made against him and he must
not, under any circumstances, take any unfair advantage that


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would defeat or impair his client’s claim. At the same time the
attorney should advise his client that the client may obtain legal
advice elsewhere as to any rights he may have arising from such
mistakes.

RULE IV
CONFIDENTIALITY

The attorney has a duty to hold in strict confidence all
information received in the course of the professional
relationship from or concerning his client or his client’s affairs
which information should not be divulged by the attorney unless
he is expressly or impliedly authorized by his client or required
by the laws of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas so to do.

Commentary
1. The attorney cannot render effective professional service

unless there is full and unreserved communication between him
and his client. At the same time the client must feel completely
secure and he is entitled to proceed on the basis that without any
express request or stipulation on his part matters disclosed to or
discussed with his attorney will be held secret and confidential.

2. This ethical rule must be distinguished from the
evidentiary rule of lawyer and client privilege with respect to
oral or documentary communications passing between the client
and his attorney. The ethical rule is wider and applies without
regard to the nature or source of the information or the fact that
others may share the knowledge.

3. As a general rule the attorney should not disclose that a
particular person has consulted or retained him, unless the nature
of the matter requires it.

4. The attorney owes the duty of secrecy to every client
without exception, regardless of whether he is a continuing or
casual client. The duty survives the professional relationship and
continues indefinitely after the attorney has ceased to act for the
client whether or not differences may have arisen between them.

5. The fiduciary relationship between the attorney and his
client forbids that the attorney use any confidential information
covered by the ethical rule for the benefit of himself or a third
person or to the disadvantage of his client. Should the attorney
engage in literary works such as his autobiography, memoirs and
the like he should avoid disclosure of confidential information.

6. The attorney should take care to avoid disclosure to one
client of confidential information concerning or received from
another and he should decline employment which might require
him to do so.

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7. The attorney should avoid indiscreet conversations, even
with his spouse or family, about a client or his affairs and he
should shun any gossip about such things even though the client is
not named or otherwise identified. Likewise the attorney should
not repeat any gossip or information about his client’s business or
affairs that he overhears or that is recounted to him. Apart
altogether from ethical considerations or questions of good taste
indiscreet shop-talk between attorneys, if overheard by third
parties able to identify matter being discussed, can result in
prejudice to the client. Moreover the respect of the listener for the
attorneys and the legal professional will probably be lessened.

8. The rule may not apply to facts which are public
knowledge but nevertheless the attorney should guard against
participating in or commenting upon speculation concerning his
client’s affairs or business.

9. Confidential information may be divulged with the
express authority of the client or clients concerned, and, in some
situations, the authority of the client to divulge may be implied.
For example, some disclosure may be necessary in a pleading or
other document delivered in litigation being conducted for the
client. Again the attorney may disclose the client’s affairs to
partners or associates in his firm and, to the extent necessary, to
this non-legal staff such as secretaries and filing clerks. But this
implied authority to disclose places the attorney under a duty to
impress upon his employees, students and associates the
importance of non-disclosure (both during their employment and
thereafter) and requires him to take reasonable care to prevent
their disclosing or using any information which he himself is
bound to keep in confidence.

10. Disclosure by the attorney may also be justified in
order to establish or collect his fee, or to defend himself or his
associates or employees against an allegation of malpractice or
misconduct, but only to the extent necessary for such purpose.

11. Disclosure of information necessary to prevent a
crime will be justified if the attorney has reasonable grounds for
believing that a crime is likely to be committed.

12. When disclosure is required by law or by order of a
court of competent jurisdiction, the attorney should always be
careful not to divulge more information than is required of him.

RULE V
IMPARTIALITY AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST
While it is not desirable that an attorney represent more than

one interest in any matter, the Bar recognizes that the choice should
be that of the parties after due disclosure by the attorney to the
client. Therefore, save after adequate disclosure in writing to and
with the consent of the client or prospective client concerned, the


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attorney must not advise or represent more than one interest in a
matter nor shall he act or continue to act in a matter when there is or
is likely to be a conflicting interest. A conflicting interest is one
which would be likely to affect adversely the judgment of the
attorney on behalf of or his loyalty to a client or prospective client
or which the attorney might be prompted to prefer to the interest of
a client or prospective client.

Commentary
1. The reason for the Rule is self evident; the client or his

affairs may be seriously prejudiced unless the attorney’s
judgment and freedom of action on his client’s behalf are as free
as possible from compromising influences.

2. Conflicting interests include but are not limited to the
financial interest of the attorney or an associate of the attorney
and the duties and loyalties of the attorney to any other client,
including the obligation to communicate information.

3. Associates of the attorney within the meaning of the Rule
include his spouse, son or daughter, any relative of the attorney (or of
his spouse) who lives under the same roof, any partner or associate of
the attorney in the practice of law, a trust or estate in which the
attorney has a substantial beneficial interest or for which he acts as a
trustee or in a similar capacity, and a corporation of which the
attorney is a director or in which he or an associate of his owns or
controls, directly or indirectly, a significant number of shares.

4. The Rule requires adequate disclosure to the client so that
he may make an informed decision as to whether he wishes the
attorney to act for him despite the presence or possibility of the
conflicting interest. As important as it is to the client that his
attorney’s judgment and freedom of action on his behalf should not
be subject to other interests, duties or obligations, in practice this
factor may not always be decisive. Instead it may be only one of
several factors which the client will weigh when deciding whether
or not he will give the consent referred to in the Rule. Other factors
might include, for example, the availability of another attorney of
comparable expertise and experience, the extra cost, delay and
inconvenience involved in engaging another attorney and the
latter’s unfamiliarity with the client and his affairs. In the result, in
the judgment of the client his interests may sometimes be better
served by not engaging another attorney. An example of this sort of
situation is when the client and the other party to a commercial
transaction are continuing clients of the same law firm but are
regularly represented by different attorneys in that firm.

5. Before the attorney accepts employment for more than one
client in a matter or transaction the attorney must advise the clients
concerned that he has been asked to act for both or all of them, that
no information received in connection with the matter from one can


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be treated as confidential so far as any of the others are concerned,
and that if a conflict develops which cannot be resolved, he cannot
continue to act for both or all of them and may have to withdraw
completely. If one of such clients is a person with whom the attorney
has a continuing relationship and for whom he acts regularly, this fact
should be revealed to the other or others with a recommendation that
they obtain independent representation. If, following such disclosure,
all parties are content that the attorney act, he should obtain their
written consent, or record their consent in a separate letter to each. He
should, however, guard against acting for both sides where, despite
the fact that all parties concerned consent, it is reasonably obvious
that an issue contentious between them may arise or their interests,
rights or obligations will diverge as the matter progresses.

6. If, after the clients involved have consented an issue
contentious between them or some of them arises, the attorney
although not necessarily precluded from advising them on other
non-contentious matters, would be in breach of the rule if he
attempted to advise them on the contentious issue. In such
circumstances he should ordinarily refer the clients to other
lawyers. However, if the issue is one which involves little or no
legal advice, for example, a business rather than a legal question
in a proposed business transaction, and the clients are
sophisticated, he may let them settle it by direct negotiation in
which he does not participate. Alternatively, he may refer one
client to another attorney and continue to advise the other if it
was agreed at the outset that this course would be followed in
the event of a conflict arising.

7. The same basic considerations apply, where the conflicting
interest arises not by reason of the attorney’s duties or obligations to
another client but by reason of his own financial or other interest or
that of an associate. For example, the attorney or one of his family or
his partners might have a personal financial interest in the client or in
the matter in which the attorney is requested to act for the client, such
as a partnership interest in some joint business venture with the
client. Another example is when a debtor-creditor relationship exists
between the attorney or his firm and the client. This however is a
relationship which should be avoided and save in exceptional
circumstances, the attorney should not borrow money from a client
who is not in the business of lending money and it is undesirable that
he lend money to his client except by way of advancing necessary
expenses in a legal matter which he is handling for that client.

8. In such a case, when the attorney is asked to act, he must,
before accepting the employment, disclose and explain the nature
of his conflicting interest to the client, or in the case of a potential
conflict, how and why it might develop later. If the attorney does
not choose to make such disclosure or cannot do so without


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breaching a confidence he must decline the employment. If,
following such disclosure, the client requests him to act, he should
obtain the client’s written consent or record such consent in a letter
to the client. However, the client’s decision that he wants the
attorney to act in such circumstances should not be accepted
uncritically by the attorney. He should bear in mind that, if he
accepts the employment, his first duty will be to his client, and if he
has any misgivings about this ability to place his client’s interests
first, he should decline the employment.

9. The Rule will not prevent an attorney from arbitrating or
settling, or attempting to arbitrate or settle, a dispute between
two or more clients or former clients who are sui juris and who
wish to submit the dispute to him.

10. The Rule does not purport to apply to situations in
which the attorney is holding funds or property of his client in
trust. In all such cases the attorney should abide by the applicable
rules of the law and of the Bar Council. For example, if funds of
the client entrusted to the attorney for investment are to be
invested in a security in which the attorney or his associate has an
interest the attorney should insist that the client be represented by
an independent attorney. In such circumstances disclosure to and
the consent of the client will not normally suffice.

11. An attorney who has acted for a client in a matter
should not thereafter act against him (or against persons who
were involved in or associated with him in that matter) in the
same or any related matter, or place himself in a position where
he might be tempted or appear to be tempted to breach the Rule
relating to Confidential Information. It is not, however, improper
for the attorney to act against a former client in a fresh and
independent matter wholly unrelated to any work he has
previously done for that person.

12. For the sake of clarity the foregoing paragraphs are
expressed in terms of the individual attorney and his client.
However it will be appreciated that the term “client” includes a
client of the law firm of which the attorney is a partner or
associate whether or not he handles the client’s work.

13. Generally speaking in disciplinary proceedings under
this Rule the burden of showing good faith and that adequate
disclosure was made in the matter and the client’s consent
obtained, will rest upon the attorney.

RULE VI
OUTSIDE INTERESTS AND THE PRACTICE OF LAW

The attorney who engages in another profession, business
or occupation concurrently with the practice of law must not
allow such outside interests to jeopardise his professional
integrity, independence or competence.

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Commentary
1. The term “outside interest” covers the widest possible

range and includes activities which may overlap or be connected
with the practice of law, such as engaging in the mortgage
business, acting as a director for a client corporation, writing on
legal subjects, etc., as well as activities not so connected, such as
careers in business, politics, broadcasting, the performing arts,
etc.

2. The attorney must not allow his involvement in an
outside interest to impair the exercise of his independent
professional judgment on behalf of his clients. Whenever an
overriding social, political, economic or other consideration
arising from the outside interest might influence the attorney’s
judgment he should be governed by the considerations declared
in the Rule relating to Impartiality and Conflict of Interest and in
particular, paragraph 8 thereof.

3. Where the attorney’s outside interest is in no way related
to the legal services that he performs for clients, ethical
considerations will usually not arise unless his conduct brings
him or the profession into disrepute, or his activities impair his
competence as, for example, where the outside interest so
occupies his time that his clients suffer from inattention or
unpreparedness.

4. The attorney must make it clear whether he is acting in
his professional capacity as a lawyer or otherwise.

RULE VII
PRESERVATION OF CLIENT’S PROPERTY

The attorney owes a duty to his client to observe all laws
and rules regarding the preservation and safekeeping of the
property of the client entrusted to him and in the absence of any
such laws and rules or where the attorney is in doubt he should
take the same care of such property as a careful and prudent man
would take of his own similar property.

Commentary
1. “Property” apart from clients’ moneys, includes securities

such as mortgages, negotiable instruments, stocks, bonds, etc.,
original documents such as wills, title deeds, minute books, licences,
certificates, etc., other papers such as a client’s correspondence files,
reports, invoices, etc., and chattels such as jewellery, silver, etc.

2. The attorney should promptly notify his client of the
receipt of any property of or relating to the client unless he is
satisfied that the client is aware that it has come into his custody.

3. The attorney should clearly label and identify his client’s
property and place it in safekeeping separate and apart from his
own property.

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4. The attorney should maintain adequate records of client’s
property in his custody so that he may promptly account for or
deliver it to or to the order of the client upon request. He should
ensure that it is delivered to the right person, and in case of dispute
as to the person entitled he may have recourse to the courts.

5. The duties here expressed are closely related to those
regarding confidential information. The attorney should keep his
client’s papers and other property out of sight as well as out of
reach of those not entitled to see them and should, subject to any
rights of lien, promptly return them to the client upon request or
on the conclusion of his mandate.

6. The attorney should be alert to claim on behalf of his
clients any privilege in respect of their property seized or
attempted to be seized by an external authority.

RULE VIII
THE ATTORNEY AS ADVOCATE

When acting as an advocate the attorney must, while
treating the tribunal with courtesy and respect, represent his
client resolutely, honourably and within the limits of the law.

Commentary
1. The advocate’s duty to his client “fearlessly to raise every

issue, advance every argument and ask every question, however
distasteful, which he thinks will help his client’s case” and to
endeavour to obtain for his client the benefit of any and every
remedy and defence which is authorized by law must always be
discharged by fair and honourable means, without illegality and in
a manner consistent with the attorney’s duty to treat the court with
candour, fairness, courtesy and respect. (Note: The words in
quotation marks come from the speech of Lord Reid in Rondel v.
Worsley (1969) 1 A.C. (H.L.) 191 at 227).

The attorney must not, for example —
(a) abuse the process of the tribunal by instituting or prosecuting

proceedings which, although legal in themselves, are clearly
motivated by malice on the part of his client and are brought
solely for the purpose of injuring the other party;

(b) knowingly assist or permit his client to do anything which
the attorney considers to be dishonest or dishonourable;

(c) endeavour or allow anyone else to endeavour, directly or
indirectly, to influence the decision or action of a tribunal
or any of its officials in any case or matter, whether by
bribery, personal approach or any means other than open
persuasion as an advocate;

(d) knowingly attempt to deceive a tribunal or influence the course
of justice by offering false evidence, mis-state facts or law,


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presenting or relying upon a false or deceptive affidavit,
suppressing what ought to be disclosed, or assisting in any
fraud, crime or illegal conduct;

(e) knowingly mis-state the contents of a document the
testimony of a witness, the substance of an argument or the
provisions of a statute or like authority;

(f) knowingly assert that for which there is no reasonable basis in
evidence or the admissibility of which must first be established;

(g) deliberately refrain from informing the tribunal of any law
or jurisprudence which he considers to be directly in point
and binding on the tribunal and which has not been
mentioned by his opponent;

(h) dissuade a material witness from giving evidence or advise
such a witness to absent himself;

(i) knowingly assist a witness to misrepresent himself or
impersonate another;

(j) needlessly abuse, intimidate, or harass a witness;
(k) needlessly inconvenience a witness.

2. (a) Where the attorney discovers that he has unknowingly done
or failed to do something which, if done or omitted knowingly, would
have been in breach of this Rule, his duty to the court requires him, subject
to the Rule on Confidential Information, to disclose the error or omission
and do what he reasonable can in the circumstances to rectify it.

(b) If the client desires that a course be taken which
would involve a breach of this Rule, the attorney must refuse
and do everything reasonably possible to prevent it. If he cannot
do so he should, subject to the Rule on Withdrawal, withdraw or
seek leave to withdraw.

3. The attorney should not express his personal opinions or
beliefs, or assert as fact anything that is properly subject to legal
proof, cross-examination or challenge. He must not make
himself in effect an unsworn witness or put his own credibility
in issue. If the attorney is a necessary witness he should testify
and the conduct of the case should be entrusted to another
attorney. The attorney who was a witness in the proceedings
should not appear as advocate in any appeal from the decision in
those proceedings. There are no restrictions upon the advocate’s
right to cross-examine a fellow attorney and the attorney who
does appear as a witness should not expect to receive special
treatment by reason of his professional status.

4. The attorney may properly seek information from any
potential witness (whether under subpoena or not) but he should
disclose his interest and take care not to subvert or suppress any
evidence or procure the witness to stay out of the way. An opposite
party who is professionally represented should not be approached
or dealt with save through or with the consent of his attorney.

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5. The attorney should never waive or abandon his client’s
legal rights (for example an available defence under a statute of
limitations) without his client’s informed consent, but in civil
matters it is desirable that the attorney should avoid and
discourage his client from resorting to frivolous or vexatious
objections or attempts to gain advantage from slips or oversights
not going to the real merits, or tactics which will merely delay or
harass the other side. Such practices can readily bring the
administration of justice and the legal profession into disrepute.

6. Whenever the client’s case can be fairly settled the
attorney should advise and encourage his client to do so rather
than commence or continue legal proceedings.

7. When engaged as a prosecutor the attorney’s prime duty
is not to seek to convict, but to see that justice is done through a
fair trial upon the merits. The prosecutor exercises a public
function involving much discretion and power, and must act
fairly and dispassionately. He should not do anything which
might prevent the accused from being represented by counsel or
communicating with counsel and to the extent required by law
and accepted practice, he should make timely disclosure to the
accused or his counsel (or to the court if the accused is not
represented) of all relevant facts and witnesses known to him,
whether tending towards guilt or innocence.

8. When defending an accused person the attorney’s duty is
to protect his client as far as possible from being convicted
except by a tribunal of competent jurisdiction and upon legal
evidence sufficient to support a conviction for the offence with
which he is charged. Accordingly, and notwithstanding the
attorney’s private opinions as to credibility or merits, the
attorney may properly rely upon any evidence or defences
including “technicalities” not known to be false or fraudulent.

9. Admissions made by the accused to his attorney may impose
strict limitations on the conduct of the defence, and the accused
should be made aware of this. For example, if the accused clearly
admits to his attorney the factual and mental elements necessary to
constitute the offence, the attorney, if convinced that the admis-
sions are true and voluntary, may properly take objection to the
jurisdiction of the court, or to the form of the indictment, or to the
admissibility or sufficiency of the evidence, but he must not suggest
that some other person committed the offence or call any evidence
which, by reason of the admissions, he believes to be false. Nor may
he set up an affirmative case inconsistent with such admissions, e.g.
by calling evidence in support of an alibi intended to show that the
accused could not have done, or in fact had not done, the act. Such
admissions will also impose a limit upon the extent to which the
attorney may attack the evidence for the prosecution. He is entitled


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to test the evidence given by each individual witness for the
prosecution and to argue that the evidence taken as a whole is
insufficient to amount to proof that the accused is guilty of the
offence charged, but he should go no further than that.

10. Where, following investigation —
(a) a defence attorney bona fide concludes and advises his

accused client that an acquittal of the offence charged is
uncertain or unlikely;

(b) the client is prepared to admit the necessary factual and
mental elements;

(c) the attorney fully advises the client of the implications and
possible consequences, and particularly of the detachment
of the court; and

(d) the client so instructs him,
it is proper for the attorney to discuss with the prosecutor and for
them tentatively to agree on the entry of a plea of “guilty” to the
offence charged or to a lesser or included offence appropriate to
the admissions, and also on a disposition or sentence to be
proposed to the court. The public interest must not be or appear
to be sacrificed in the pursuit of an apparently expedient means
of disposing of doubtful cases, and all pertinent circumstances
surrounding any tentative agreements, if proceeded with, must
be fully and fairly disclosed to the court. The judge must not be
involved, in any such discussions or tentative agreements, save
to be informed thereof.

11. An undertaking given by the attorney to the court or
to another attorney in the course of litigation must be strictly and
scrupulously carried out. Unless clearly qualified, the attorney’s
undertaking is his personal promise and responsibility.

12. At all times the attorney should be courteous and
civil to the court and to those engaged on the other side. Legal
contempt of court and the professional obligation are not
identical, and a consistent pattern of rude, provocative or
disruptive conduct by the attorney, even though unpunished as
contempt, might well merit discipline.

13. In adversary proceedings the attorney’s function as
advocate is openly and necessarily partisan. Accordingly, he is not
obliged (save as required by law or under paragraph 1 (h) above)
to assist his adversary or advance matters derogatory to his own
client’s case. When opposing interests are not represented, for
example, in ex parte or uncontested matters, or in other situations
where the full proof and argument inherent in the adversary
system cannot obtain, the attorney must take particular care to be
accurate, candid and comprehensive in presenting his client’s case
so as to ensure that the court is not misled.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

14. The principles of the present Rule apply generally to
the attorney in his capacity as advocate and therefore extend not
only to court proceedings but also to appearances and proceedings
before boards, administrative tribunals and other bodies, regardless
of their function or the informality of their procedures.

RULE IX
THE ATTORNEY IN PUBLIC OFFICE

The attorney should bring to the discharge of his duties in
any public office which he holds the same high standards of
conduct which he is required to observe as a practising attorney.

Commentary
1. The Rule applies to an attorney who is elected or

appointed to a legislative or administrative office at any level of
government regardless of whether or not he attained such office
because of his professional qualifications. He must bear in mind
that he is in the public eye and therefore the legal profession can
more readily be brought into disrepute by failure on his part to
observe its ethical standards of conduct.

2. The attorney who holds public office must not allow his
personal or other interests to conflict with the proper discharge
of his official duties. If he holds a part-time public office he
must not accept any private legal business in which his duty to
his client will or may conflict with his official duties, and if
some unforeseen conflict arises he should terminate the
professional relationship, explaining to his client that his official
duties must prevail. The attorney who holds a full-time public
office will not be faced with this sort of conflict, but he must
nevertheless guard against allowing his independent judgment in
the discharge of his official duties to be influenced by his own
interest, that of some person closely related to or associated with
him, that of his former or prospective partners or associates.

3. In the context of the foregoing paragraph, persons
closely related to or associated with the attorney include his
spouse, son or daughter, any relative of the attorney (or of his
spouse) who lives under the same roof, a trust or estate in which
the attorney has a subtantial beneficial interest or for which he
acts as a trustee or in a similar capacity, and a corporation of
which the attorney is a director or in which he or some person
closely related to or associated with him holds or controls,
directly or indirectly, a significant number of shares.

4. Subject to any special rules applicable to the particular
public office, the attorney holding such office should, when he
sees that there is a possibility of a conflict of interest, disqualify
himself by declaring his interest at the earliest opportunity, and
he should not take part in any consideration or discussion of or
vote with respect to the matter in question.

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5. When the attorney or any of his partners or associates is a
member of an official body he should not appear professionally
before that body. However subject to the rules of the official body
it would not be improper for him to appear professionally before a
committee of such body if such partner or associate is not a
member of that committee.

6. The attorney should not represent in the same or any related
matter any persons or interests with whom he has been concerned
in an official capacity. Likewise, he should avoid advising upon a
ruling of an official body of which he is a member or of which he
was a member at the time the ruling was made.

7. By way of corollary to the Rule, relating to Confidential
Information, confidential information acquired by the attorney
by virtue of his holding public office should be kept confidential
and should not be divulged or used by him merely because he
has ceased to hold such office.

8. Generally speaking, the Bar Council will not be
concerned with the execution of the official responsibilities of a
lawyer holding public office, but if his conduct in office reflects
adversely upon his integrity or his professional competence, he
may be subject to disciplinary action.

RULE X
FEES

The attorney should not —
(a) stipulate for, charge or accept any fee which is not fully

disclosed, fair and reasonable;
(b) appropriate any funds of his client held in trust or otherwise

under his control for or on account of his fees without the
express authority of his client, except in accordance with
the custom or accepted practice of the profession;

(c) enter into any agreement or stipulate payment only in the
event of success in any suit, action or other contentious
proceedings for which he is retained or employed to
prosecute.

Commentary
1. A fair and reasonable fee will depend upon and reflect such

factors as —
(a) the time and effort required and spent;
(b) the difficulty and importance of the matter;
(c) whether special skill or service has been required and provided;
(d) the customary charges of other attorneys of equal standing

in like matters and circumstances;
(e) the amount involved or the value of the subject matter;
(f) the results obtained;

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(g) scales advised by the Bar Association;
(h) such special circumstances as loss of other employment,

uncertainty of reward, and urgency.
A fee will not be fair and reasonable if it is one which cannot

be justified in the light of all pertinent circumstances, including the
factors mentioned, or is so disproportionate to the services rendered
as to introduce an element of fraud or dishonesty.

2. It is in keeping with the best traditions of the legal profession
to reduce or waive a fee in a situation where there is hardship or
poverty, or the client or prospective client would otherwise
effectively be deprived of legal advice or representation.

3. Breach of this Rule and misunderstandings respecting fees
and financial matters bring the legal profession into disrepute and
reflect adversely upon the general administration of justice. The
attorney should try to avoid controversy with his client with respect
to fees, and he should be ready to explain the basis for his charges
(especially if the client is unsophisticated or uninformed as to the
proper basis and measurements for fees). He should give the client
a fair estimate of fees and disbursements, pointing out any
uncertainties involved, so that the client may be able to make
informed decisions. When something unusual or unforeseen occurs
which may substantially affect the amount of the fee, the attorney
should forestall misunderstandings or disputes by explanations to
his client.

Whilst there may be special circumstances in particular
cases which justify the quotation or acceptance of a fee less than
the minimum scale as advised from time to time by the Bahamas
Bar Association it is generally considered improper deliberately
to undercut fees by quoting or accepting a reduced fee from any
prospective new client and especially if it is known or there are
reasonable grounds to believe that such person is or has been
represented by another attorney in The Bahamas.

4. The attorney should not charge his client interest on an
overdue account unless permitted by law, and then only after
adequate notice to the client.

5. In matters where the attorney is acting for two or more
clients on the same side it is his duty to divide his fees and
disbursements equitably between them in the absence of
agreement otherwise.

6. A fee will not be a fair one within the meaning of the Rule if
it is divided with another attorney who is not a partner or associate
unless (a) the client consents, either expressly or impliedly to the
employment of the other attorney; and (b) the fees are divided in
proportion to the work done and responsibilities assumed.

7. The fiduciary relationship between the attorney and his client
requires full disclosure in all financial matters between them and


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prohibits the acceptance by the attorney of any hidden fees. No
fee, reward, costs, commission, interests, rebate, agency or
forwarding allowance or other compensation whatsoever related
to professional employment may be taken by the attorney from
anyone other than the client without full disclosure to and the
consent of the client or, where the attorney’s fees are being paid
by someone other than the client such as a borrower, or a
personal representative, the consent of such other. So far as
disbursements are concerned, only bona fide and specified
payments to others may be included, and if the attorney is
financially interested in the person to whom the disbursements
are made, such as an investigating, brokerage or copying
agency, he must expressly disclose this fact to his client.

8. It is the generally accepted practice in real estate transactions
and collection matters for the attorney to deduct his fees and
disbursements from moneys paid to him on behalf of his client.

RULE XI
WITHDRAWAL

The attorney owes a duty to his client not to withdraw his
services except for good cause and upon notice appropriate in
the circumstances.

Commentary
1. Although the client has the right to terminate the lawyer-

client relationship at will, the attorney has no such freedom of
action. Having accepted professional employment he should
complete the task to the best of his ability unless there is
justifiable cause for his terminating the relationship.

2. In all situations where the attorney withdraws from
employment he should act so as to minimize expense and avoid
prejudice to his client, and do all that he reasonably can to facilitate
the orderly transfer of the matter to the attorney who succeeds him.

3. Where withdrawal by the attorney is required or
permitted by this Rule he must comply with all applicable rules
of the court, and, where required by rules or practice, obtain the
court’s permission to withdraw.

4. In some circumstances the attorney will be under a positive
duty to withdraw. The obvious case is where he is discharged by
the client. Other examples are (a) if he is instructed by his client to
do something inconsistent with his duty to the court and if,
following explanation, the client persists in his instructions; (b) if
the client is guilty of dishonourable conduct in the proceedings or is
taking a position solely to harass or maliciously injure another; (c)
if it becomes clear that the attorney’s continued employment will
involve him in a breach of this Code, such as for example a breach


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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

of the Rule relating to Impartiality and Conflict of Interest; or
(d) if the attorney discovers that he is not competent to handle
the matter. In these situations it will be the attorney’s duty to
inform his client that he must withdraw.

5. Situations where an attorney would be entitled to
withdraw, although not under a positive duty to do so, will
usually only arise where there has been a serious loss of
confidence between the attorney and the client. Such a loss of
confidence goes to the very basis of the relationship. Thus, if the
attorney is deceived by his client he will have justifiable cause
for withdrawal. Again, the refusal of the client to accept and act
upon the attorney’s advice on a significant point might indicate
such a loss of confidence. However, the attorney should not use
the threat of withdrawal as a device to force a hasty decision by
his client on a difficult question.

6. Failure on the part of the client after reasonable notice to
provide funds on account of disbursements or fees would also
justify withdrawal by the attorney, if no serious prejudice to the
client would result.

7. No hard and fast rules can be laid down as to what will
constitute reasonable notice prior to withdrawal. Where the point
is covered by statutory provisions or rules of court, these will
govern. In other situations the attorney must be governed by the
basic principle that he should protect his client’s interests to the
best of his ability and that he should not desert his client at a
critical stage of a matter or at a time when his withdrawal would
put the client in a position of disadvantage or peril.

8. Upon his discharge or withdrawal the attorney should —
(a) deliver to or to the order of the client all papers and

property to which the client is entitled;
(b) give the client all information he may require in connection

with the case or matter;
(c) account for all funds of the client then held or previously

dealt with, including the refunding of any renumeration not
earned during his employment;

(d) promptly render his account for outstanding fees and
disbursements;

(e) co-operate with the attorney who succeeds him for the
purposes outlined in paragraph 2.
The obligation in clause (a) to deliver papers and property is

subject to the lawyer’s right of lien referred to in paragraph 10. In
the event of conflicting claims to such papers or property the
attorney should use his best efforts to have the claimants settle the
dispute.

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9. Co-operation with the successor attorney will normally
include providing him with memoranda of facts and law which have
been prepared by the attorney in connection with the matter, but
confidential information which is not clearly related to the matter
should not be divulged without the express consent of the client.

10. Where upon the discharge or withdrawal of the attorney
the question of his right of lien for unpaid fees and disbursements
arises, he should have due regard to the effect of its enforcement
upon the client’s position. Generally speaking the attorney should not
enforce his lien if the result would be to materially prejudice the
client’s position in any uncompleted matter.

11. Before accepting employment, the successor attorney
should be satisfied that the other approves or has withdrawn or
has been discharged by the client. It is quite proper for the
successor attorney to urge the client to settle or take reasonable
steps towards settling or securing any outstanding account of the
other attorney, especially if the latter withdrew for good cause or
was capriciously discharged. But if a trial or hearing is in
progress or imminent, or if the client would otherwise be
prejudiced, the successor attorney should not allow any
outstanding account to interfere with his acting for the client.

12. Where an attorney acting for several clients in a case
or matter ceases to act for one or more of them, he should co-
operate with his successor attorney or attorneys to the extent
permitted by this Code, and seek to avoid any unseemly rivalry
or appearance of it.

13. When a law firm is dissolved it will usually result in
the termination of the lawyer-client relationship as between a
particular client and one or more of the attorneys involved. In
such cases most clients will prefer to retain the services of the
attorney whom they regarded as being in charge of their
business prior to the dissolution. However, the final decision
rests with the client, and the attorneys who are no longer
retained by that client should act in accordance with the
principles here set out, and in particular paragraph 2.

RULE XII
THE ATTORNEY AND THE ADMINISTRATION

OF JUSTICE
The attorney should encourage public respect for and strive

to improve the administration of justice.
Commentary

1. The admission to and continuance in the practice of law
implies on the part of the attorney a basic commitment to the
concept of equal justice for all within an open, ordered and
impartial system. However, judicial institutions will not function
effectively unless they command the respect of the public and,


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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

because of changes in human affairs and imperfections in human
institutions, constant efforts must be made to improve the
administration of justice and thereby maintain public respect for it.

2. The attorney’s training, opportunities and experience enable
him to observe the workings and to discover the strengths and
weaknesses of laws, legal institutions and authorities. He should
therefore lead in seeking improvements in the legal system, but his
criticisms and proposals should be bona fide and reasoned.

3. The obligation outlined in the Rule is not restricted to the
attorney’s professional activities but is a broad general
responsibility resulting from his position in the community. His
responsibilities are greater than those of a private citizen. He
must not subvert the law by counselling or assisting in activities
which are in defiance of it, and he must do nothing to lessen the
respect and confidence of the public in the legal system of which
he is a part. He should take care not to weaken or destroy public
confidence in legal institutions or authorities by broad
irresponsible allegations of corruption or partiality. The attorney
in public life must be particularly careful in this regard because
the mere fact that he is an attorney will lend weight and
credibility to his statements. But for the same reason he should
not hesitate to speak out where he sees an injustice.

4. Although proceedings and decisions of tribunals are
properly subject to scrutiny and criticism by all members of the
public, including attorneys, members of tribunals are often
prohibited by custom or by law from defending themselves.
Their inability to do so imposes special responsibilities upon
attorneys. First, the attorney should avoid criticism which is
petty, intemperate or unsupported by his bona fide belief in its
real merit, bearing in mind that in the eyes of the public his
professional knowledge lends weight to his judgments or
criticisms. Secondly, if he himself has been involved in the
proceedings, there is the risk that his criticism may be, or may
appear to be, partisan rather than objective. Thirdly, where the
tribunal is the target of unjust criticism, the attorney, as a
participant in the administration of justice, is uniquely able to
and should support the tribunal, both because its members
cannot defend themselves and because the attorney is thereby
contributing to greater public understanding of and thus respect
for the legal system.

5. Whenever the attorney seeks legislative or administrative
changes, he should disclose whether he is pursuing his own interest,
or that of a client or whether he is acting in the public interest. The
attorney may advocate such changes on behalf of a client even
though he does not agree with them, but when he purports to act in
the public interest, he should espouse only those changes which he
conscientiously believes to be in the public interest.

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RULE XIII
AVAILABILITY OF LEGAL SERVICES

Whereas limited publication of an attorney’s name or firm
name for information purposes is a useful adjunct to the overall
availability of legal services to the public, unregulated competitive
advertising is incompatible with the integrity of the profession and
may be detrimental to the public interest. The following categories
of limited advertising are considered acceptable, subject, in any
particular case, to disallowance by the Bar Council:
(a) Listings in professional legal directories, telephone directories,

professional journals or other similar publications.
(b) Publication of names on legal aid panels and referral services

sponsored or approved by the Bar Council, including those
of foreign diplomatic missions, professional and community
oriented bodies.

(c) The use of name plates on law offices and the publication
of professional cards and announcements.

(d) Any other category or mode of limited advertising which the
Bar Council in its discretion may from time to time allow.

Commentary
1. It is essential that a person requiring legal services be

able to find, with a minimum of difficulty or delay, an attorney
who is qualified to provide such services. In a relatively small
community, where attorneys are well known, the person will
usually be able to make an informed choice and select a
qualified lawyer in whom he has confidence. However in larger
centres these conditions may not obtain and as the practice of
law becomes increasingly complex and the practice of the
individual attorney tends to become restricted to particular fields
of law, the reputations of attorneys and their competence or
qualification in particular fields may not be sufficiently well
known to enable a person to make an informed choice. Thus one
who has had little or no contact with attorneys or who is a
stranger in the community may have difficulty in finding an
attorney who has the special skill required for the particular task.
Telephone directories, legal directories and referral services will
help him find a lawyer, but not necessarily the right one for the
work involved.

2. The individual attorney when consulted by a prospective
client in such circumstances should be ready to assist in finding the
right attorney for the problem to be dealt with. If, for some reason,
he cannot agree to act (e.g. he may not consider himself well
qualified in the particular field), he should assist in finding an
attorney who is qualified and able to act. Such assistance should be
willingly given and, except in very special circumstances, should be
given without charge.

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3. The individual attorney may also assist in making legal
services available by participating in legal aid plans and referral
services, by engaging in programmes of public information,
education or advice concerning legal matters, and by being
considerate of those who seek his advice but who are inexperienced
in legal matters or cannot readily explain their problems.

4. The means by which it is sought to make legal services
more readily available to the public must be consistent with the
public interest and must not be such as would primarily advance
the economic interests of any individual attorney or law firm, or
detract from the integrity, independence or effectiveness of the
legal profession. Unregulated advertising is not in the interest of
the public or the profession. Such advertising has for good
reason been prohibited by professional bodies. It would be apt to
encourage self aggrandizement at the expense of truth and could
mislead the uninformed and arouse unattainable hopes and
expectations resulting in the distrust of legal institutions and
attorneys. Moreover, there are sound economic reasons for not
allowing unregulated advertising, quite apart from the traditional
reasons for which the professions have rejected it. There is the
risk that such advertising would tend to increase the cost of legal
services and in the course of time would tend to bring about a
concentration of legal services in large firms that could afford to
advertise freely to the detriment of the medium size and small
firm, thereby unduly limiting the choice of persons seeking
independent legal representation.

5. Limited advertising (as opposed to unregulated advertising)
can be of much assistance to persons seeking legal services for
example (a) advertising on behalf of the profession by the Bar
Council and by the groups authorized by them; (b) publication of
names on legal aid panels and referral services sponsored or
approved by the Bar Council; (c) the use of name plates on law
offices and the publication of professional cards and
announcements, including, where permissible, a reference to the
fact that an attorney is an accredited specialist or that his practice is
restricted to a particular field. The overriding considerations are that
the content of such advertising should be true and should not be
capable of misleading those to whom it is addressed.

6. When considering whether or not limited advertising in a
particular area meets the public need, consideration must be
given to the clientele to be served. Thus the Bar Council must
have freedom of action in determining the nature and content of
the limited advertising that will best meet the community need.

7. The attorney must not directly or indirectly apply for or
seek instructions for professional business or do or permit in the
carrying on of his practice any act or thing which may be regarded
as touting, or engage in competitive advertising calculated to attract
business unfairly. It is competitive and unfair advertising for the


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attorney to use an ostentatious name plate or display a name plate
elsewhere than at his place of business; to put the names of clients
on his own letterhead; to allow his name to be put on the note paper
of clients or third persons; to circularise former clients on any
resumption of practice; or, generally, to circularise non-clients, or to
allow his name or description to appear on client’s circulars.

The attorney must not, directly or indirectly, do or permit
any act or thing to be done which can reasonably be regarded as
professional touting or as designed primarily to attract legal
business. The attorney should not offer generally to provide
legal services at reduced rates for the sole purpose of attracting
clients. However, he may properly assist in making legal
services available by charging a reduced fee or no fee at all to a
person who would have difficulty in paying the fee usually
charged for such service or by accepting a salary, flat fee or
retainer from or under a scheme established by Government or
the Bar Council or a community service group in order to
provide legal services to a defined or identifiable section of the
public. For this purpose a community service group means a
group established for purposes which are charitable or
educational or which involve self improvement of its members
through mutual aid and assistance and includes a group formed
for the express purpose of providing legal services to persons
who cannot afford normal or fixed or any fees.

8. The attorney should not solicit appearances on radio,
television or any other public forum in his professional capacity as
an attorney or attempt to use any such appearance as a means of
professional advertisement. Nor should he engage in his capacity as
an attorney in any public appearance that might discredit the legal
profession. It is quite proper for the attorney to appear in his private
or personal capacity as a speaker, actor or otherwise on a non-legal
programme where his professional activity as an attorney is not the
reason for his appearance and in such cases he may be described as
an attorney. If his professional capacity is the reason for his
appearance, any introduction or description of him should be
limited to his name, professional designation and a reasonable
amount of biographical detail.

9. The attorney has a general right to decline particular
employment (except when he has been assigned as counsel by a
court), but it is a right he should be slow to exercise if the probable
result would be to make it very difficult for a person to obtain legal
advice or representation. Generally speaking he should not exercise
the right merely because a person seeking his services, or that
person’s cause, is unpopular or notorious, or because powerful
interests or allegations of misconduct or malfeasance are involved,
or because of his private opinion as to the guilt of the accused. As
stated in paragraph 2, the attorney declining employment should
assist in obtaining the services of another attorney competent in the
particular field and able to act.

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10. The attorney should adhere to rules made by the Bar
Council with respect to making legal services available and with
respect to advertising, but rigid adherence to restrictive rules
should be enforced with discretion where an attorney, who may
have infringed such rules, acted in good faith in making legal
services available more efficiently, economically, and
conveniently than they would otherwise have been and where he
was not primarily advancing his own economic interests.

RULE XIV
RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PROFESSION

As a member of an honourable profession the attorney
should assist in maintaining the integrity of the profession and
should participate in its activities.

Commentary
1. Unless an attorney who tends to depart from proper

professional conduct is checked at an early stage, loss or damage
to his clients or others may ensue. Evidence of minor breaches
may on investigation disclose a more serious situation or may
indicate the commencement of a course of conduct which would
lead to serious breaches in the future. It is therefore proper
(unless it is privileged or otherwise unlawful) for an attorney to
report to the Bar Council any instance involving or appearing to
involve breach of this Code. Where, however, there is a
reasonable likelihood that someone will suffer serious damage
as a consequence of an apparent breach, for example where a
shortage of trust funds is involved, the attorney has an obligation
to the profession to report the matter unless it is privileged or
otherwise unlawful for him to do so. In all cases the report must
be made bona fide without malice or ulterior motive.

2. An attorney should not refuse without good and
sufficient reason a retainer against another attorney who is
alleged to have wronged his client.

3. The attorney has a duty to reply promptly to any
communication from the Bar Council.

4. The attorney should not write, in the course of his practice,
letters, whether to his client, another attorney or any other person,
which are abusive, offensive or otherwise totally inconsistent with
the proper tone of a professional communication from an attorney.

5. There should be no discrimination by the attorney on the
grounds of race, creed, colour, national origin or sex in the
employment of other attorneys or articled students or in other
relations between him or her and other members of the profession.

6. In order to enable the profession to discharge its public
responsibility to provide independent and competent legal services,
the individual attorney should do his part in assisting the profession


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to function properly and effectively. In this regard, participation in
such activities, as law reform, continuing legal education, tutorials,
legal aid programmes, community legal service, professional
conduct and discipline, liaison with other professions, and other
activities of the Bahamas Bar Association, although often time-
consuming and without tangible reward, are essential to the
maintenance of a strong, independent and useful profession.

RULE XV
PRACTICE BY UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS

The attorney should assist in preventing the unauthorized
practice of law.

Commentary
1. Statutory prohibitions against the practice of law by

unauthorized persons are for the protection of the public.
Unauthorized persons may have technical or personal abilities, but
they are immune from control, regulation and, in the case of
misconduct, from discipline, and their competence and integrity
have not been vouched for by an independent body representative
of the legal profession. Moreover, the client of an attorney who is
authorized to practise has the protection and benefit of the lawyer-
client privilege, the attorney’s duty of secrecy, the professional
standards of care which the law requires of attorneys, the authority
which the courts exercise over them, and of other safeguards such
as professional liability insurance, rights with respect to the taxation
of bills and rules respecting trust money.

2. The attorney should not employ in any capacity having to
do with the practice of law (a) an attorney who is under suspension
as a result of disciplinary proceedings; or (b) a person who has been
disbarred as an attorney or has been permitted to resign while
facing disciplinary proceedings and who has not been reinstated.

3. The attorney must assume complete professional
responsibility for all business entrusted to him. He must
maintain direct supervision over his staff and over assistants
such as students and clerks to whom he delegates particular
tasks and functions. For example, if he practises alone or
operates a branch or part-time office, he should ensure that all
matters requiring an attorney’s professional skill and judgment
are dealt with by an attorney qualified to do the work, and that
legal advice is not given by unauthorized persons, whether in his
name or otherwise. Furthermore, the amount of any fee to be
charged to a client should be approved by the attorney.

4. Sections 19 to 23 of the Bahamas Bar Act specifically
preclude unqualified persons from (i) acting as counsel and attorney
in any case civil or criminal to be heard or determined in any court
(ii) using any name, title, addition or description implying that he is


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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

qualified or recognised by law as qualified to act as counsel and
attorney and (iii) in expectation of any fee, gain or reward,
directly or indirectly drawing or preparing any memorandum or
articles of association of a company or any instrument relating to
real or personal property or to any legal proceedings.
Contravention of these sections is a criminal offence punishable
by fine and, in some instances, also by imprisonment.

Where these practices occur and are condoned or acquiesced
in by Bahamian attorneys, they should be regarded as examples of
improper conduct by the Bahamian attorneys so concerned in
addition to being breaches of the law by the outside attorney and
they should be reported to the Bar Council for appropriate action.

For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that there is
nothing improper in a Bahamian attorney consulting with or
instructing outside attorneys to draw pleadings or other
documents whenever the Bahamian attorney is so instructed by
his client and provided that the control of the conduct of the
matter rests in the Bahamian attorney.

RULE XVI
RESPONSIBILITY TO LAWYERS INDIVIDUALLY

The attorney’s conduct towards other attorneys should be
characterised by courtesy and good faith.

Commentary
1. Public interest demands that matters entrusted to an

attorney be dealt with effectively and expeditiously, and fair and
courteous dealing on the part of each attorney engaged in a
matter will contribute materially to this end. The attorney who
conducts himself otherwise does a disservice to his client and
neglect of the Rule will impair the ability of attorneys to perform
their function properly.

2. Any ill feeling which may exist or be engendered
between clients, particularly during litigation, should never be
allowed to influence attorneys in their conduct and demeanour
toward each other or the parties. The presence of personal
animosity between attorneys involved in a matter may cause
their judgment to be clouded by emotional factors and hinder the
proper resolution of the matter. Personal remarks or references
between them should be avoided, and haranguing or offensive
tactics interfere with the orderly administration of justice and
have no place in our legal system.

3. The attorney should accede to reasonable requests concerni-
ng trial dates, adjournments, waiver or procedural formalities and
similar matters which do not prejudice the rights of his client. Where
the attorney knows that another attorney has been consulted in a
matter he should not proceed by default in such matter without
enquiry and warning.

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4. The attorney should avoid sharp practice. He should not
take advantage of or act without fair warning upon slips,
irregularities or mistakes on the part of other attorneys not going
to the merits or involving the sacrifice of the client’s rights.

5. The attorney should answer with reasonable promptness
all professional letters and communications from other attorneys
which require an answer and he should be punctual in fulfilling
all commitments.

6. The attorney should give no undertaking he cannot fulfil
and he should fulfil every undertaking he gives. Undertakings
should be written or confirmed in writing and they should be
absolutely unambiguous in their terms. If the lawyer giving an
undertaking does not intend to accept personal responsibility, he
should state this quite clearly in the undertaking itself. In the
absence of such a statement, the person to whom the undertaking
is given is entitled to expect that the attorney giving it will
honour it personally.

7. The attorney should not communicate upon or attempt to
negotiate or compromise a matter directly with any party who is
represented by an attorney except through or with the consent of
that attorney.

8. The attorney should avoid ill-considered or uninformed
criticism of the competence, conduct, advice or charges of other
attorneys but he should be prepared, when requested, to advise
and represent a client in a complaint involving another attorney.

9. The same courtesy and good faith should characterise the
attorney’s conduct toward lay persons lawfully representing
others or themselves.

RULE XVII
OBSERVANCE OF CODE

1. The foregoing Rules should not be construed as a denial
of the existence of other duties and rules of professional conduct
which are in keeping with the traditions of the Legal Profession,
though not specifically mentioned therein.

2. Where in any particular matter explicit ethical guidance
does not exist, an attorney should determine his conduct by
acting in a manner that promotes public confidence in the
integrity and efficiency of the legal system and the legal
profession.

Commentary
1. Public confidence in the administration of justice and in the

legal profession may be eroded by irresponsible conduct on the part
of the individual attorney and he should strive to avoid even the
appearance of impropriety.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

2. Our system of administering justice provides procedures
whereby issues can be tried in an impartial manner to the end
that such issues may be decided upon the merits. Statements or
suggestions by the attorney that he could or would attempt to
circumvent those procedures should therefore be avoided
because they would tend to bring both him and the legal
profession into disrepute.

3. Without express instructions from the client, it is
improper for the attorney to insert in the client’s will a clause
directing the executor to retain the services of the attorney in the
administration of the estate.

4. The attorney has a professional duty, quite apart from
any legal liability, to meet financial obligations incurred in his
practice such as agency accounts, obligations to members of the
profession and fees or charges of witnesses, special examiners,
registrars, reporters and public officials. Where the attorney
incurs an obligation on behalf of a client which the attorney is
not prepared to pay personally, he should make his position clear
in writing at the time the obligation is incurred.

5. The attorney should not undertake to advise an
unrepresented person but should urge him to obtain independent
legal advice and if the unrepresented person does not do so, the
attorney must take care to see that such person is not proceeding
under the impression that his interests will be protected by the
attorney. If the unrepresented person requests the attorney to
advise or act for him in the matter, the attorney should be
governed by the considerations outlined in the Rule relating to
Impartiality and Conflict of Interest.

6. The attorney should endeavour to conduct himself at all
times so as to reflect credit on the legal profession and to inspire
the confidence, respect and trust of his clients and the community.

RULE XVIII
RELATIONSHIP WITH COUNCIL

1. An attorney shall as far as possible respond to a request
from the Council or a committee thereof for comments or
information on any aspect of a complaint being considered by
the Council or the committee.

2. An attorney shall ensure his attendance at disciplinary
committee proceedings where so requested by or on behalf of the
Council or committee.
Read Entire Law on laws.bahamas.gov.bs