In keeping with its promise to become more prominently involved in the development of justice in Belize, the Bar Association of Belize called a Law Conference inviting its members and the Judiciary to meet at the Radisson Hotel. According to Secretary of the Association Aldo Reyes, the Association chose today’s topics for timeliness and relevance to the modern Belizean lawyer.
“Today, we have our Law Conference; it’s a long overdue initiative. The Bar Association ha organized and brought in some well renown and legal practitioners from Jamaica and the Bahamas and the BVI. We had a committee that was brought together to select the topics that are varied, but also very pertinent to today’s practice. The 1st one is “Law, Media and Technology”; the 2nd one is “Trials Without Juries”; the 3rd one is the Shanique Mirey Decision, the Implications for Free Movements in CARICOM'”; the 4th is “Multi-jurisdictional Litigation and the last one is “Extraditions”.
In the first presentation, attorneys were reminded that in the modern age of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, it is very easy to make friends, but even easier to make enemies.
Mr. Aldo Reyes: “Media is an aspect of today and it is something that attorneys continue to engage such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. This presentation was aimed at trying to guide attorneys to ensure that they don’t fall foul of attorney duties to protect attorney client privileges by using, e.g. Facebook. You have some Attorneys that would go on Facebook and perhaps put a post and they might not realize that their post or their status might offend the code of conduct rules. So, the social media is very pertinent now and whenever an attorney uses social media, they must be aware of the code of conduct to ensure that they don’t breach the attorney-client privilege”.
On the criminal practice side, the issue of trial without jury, first implemented in Belize in 2012 in the aftermath of upheaval following the deaths of two Chinese women shopkeepers in Belize City, is also being discussed. But what does it all mean? Reyes tells us that both attorneys and judges need to be kept up to speed with the latest developments in the profession.
Mr. Aldo Reyes: ““I believe it was not most recent, but in the one before the last opening of the Court that the Attorney General specifically mentioned that the judiciary ought to continuing further legal educational seminars. It was with this in mid that this conference was put together ( because we do concede that the law is dinamic- it continues to develop, it continues to grow and we need to keep abreast of these developments. So, that is the purpose of the seminar, to keep attorneys in Belize abreast of the new developments and the different aspects of the law”.
During the lunch break an award of Custos Justitiae, Latin for “keeper of justice,” was given to Senior Counsel and noted criminal and human rights attorney Simeon Sampson for overall excellence in the practice of law. This is an annual award given out by the Association.