...Karl knocks Seenath for 'scabbing'
Queen's Counsel Karl Hudson-Phillips yesterday criticised Law Association president Seenath Jairam SC for accepting a brief from the Ministry of Finance which resulted in the firing of two lawyers who had previously spent 18 months on the case, the CLICO/HCU Commission of Enquiry.
In a letter to Jairam, Hudson-Phillips recalled that he had refused to endorse him as a candidate in the recent Law Association elections because he did not believe he was "purely" motivated.
"I think I put it more crudely and accused you of putting yourself forward to ingratiate yourself with the Executive to get briefs," said Hudson-Philips.
"Attorneys are under no obligation to accept all briefs regardless of the circumstances surrounding the matter. It is not a question of entitlement to work ("eat a food"), as one of your juniors is reported as stating, or of professional competence to do the legal work involved.
"It is a rule for the protection of fellow colleagues in the profession to whom a special and very high duty is owed. Your conduct as president of the Law Association can be likened to that of the president of a trade union who accepts a vacancy caused by the lockout of a member of his union by an employer. That is called 'scabbing'.
"I fear that you have done irreparable damage to the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago and to the legal profession. As president, you have failed to demonstrate an adherence, not to the highest, but to the most basic principles of professional etiquette and conduct of the Bar," he added.
Hudson-Phillips ended his letter: "Need I say more as to what your duty now is and what you should do."