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The Brenda Wardally-Beaumont saga

Brenda Wardally – the first female lawyer to be disbarred in the Spice Isle

Newly elected President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), Derick Sylvester has said that disbarred female attorney-at-law Brenda Wardally-Beaumont will not be allowed to violate a court order that prevents her from offering legal services on the island.

Sylvester who was elected unopposed at Tuesday’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bar made the comment Wednesday to THE NEW TODAY against the backdrop of claims from some members of the legal profession that Wardally-Beaumont is trying to offer legal services through the backdoor by advertising herself as a person who is engaged in paralegal and accounting work to the public.

The attorney-at-law said that “the Brenda Wardally matter will be dealt with appropriately and she will not be allowed to practice if she is in fact practicing as an attorney-at-law.”

“The Registrar has not accepted and will not accept any documents from her at the Supreme Court Registry,” he added.

In November, two high court judges ordered the name of the 71-year old former female lawyer be struck off the list of qualified lawyers on the roll at the Supreme Court Registry after the General Legal Council found her guilty of professional misconduct, after she failed to hand over some EC$304,000.00 that she held in trust for a client in a divorce proceedings.

According to Sylvester, at this stage “the nature of her practice is what needs to be investigated (to find out) whether or not she is practicing as an attorney-at-law.”

He pointed out that “as far as we are aware”, there has been no formal complaint filed by anyone including members of the bar against Wardally-Beaumont since she was disbarred by a high court ruling.

“All we saw is just something that was written on a newspaper but no one filed a complaint,” he said.

Asked if it is true as alleged in some legal quarters that the disbarred female barrister has erected a billboard offering paralegal and accounting services, the GBA boss said: “I don’t know, no one filed a complaint. In other words, insofar as it relates to the court there is absolutely nothing that would be accepted and that was filed by her – and it will not be accepted.”

“And not only that – no attorney will accept any documents or have any transaction with her because she was disbarred from practicing. So persons are saying those things but nobody is coming forward to file a complaint with the General Legal Council.

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“So if indeed that is the case and if someone went into her office to do some legal transaction a complaint can be filed with the General Legal Council.”

“…Secondly, there is a court order and if there is a court order the attorney who got the judgement could take the matter back to court because … a court judgment is sacrosanct. If you breach a court order we know what the penalty is – contempt of court you could go to prison.

Sylvester stated that the attorney-at-law who instituted court proceedings that led to Wardally-Beaumont being disbarred could activate the process which can see her hauled back to court for further action.

Asked if para-legal services can also be interpreted as a disbarred attorney using a legal loophole to still offer legal services to the public, Sylvester said: “It is the nature of the paralegal service. That is an issue that the court will have to decide.

These things have to be tested – so what is the extent of para-legal services because there is no law that states what a paralegal is entitled to do or what a paralegal should not do.”

“So these things should be explored now. These are discussions that have to be had. If I have a judgment from court and I believe that my judgment is being breached I will take the person back to court.”

The re-elected GBA boss noted that there are persons on island who offer paralegal services like operating as an Estate Agent to locate a plot of land for somebody.

Sylvester suggested that those members of the legal profession and the public by extension who have strong reservations on the Wardally-Beaumont issue “should utilise the complaint procedure to deal with the matter by the General Legal Council.”

“Go and file your complaint with the Registrar, take it to the General Legal Council and then the matter will be investigated.”

“So persons are just speaking, speaking and speaking and expect somehow that the bar will just act on its own motion. No, a complaint has to be filed if that was the case. That’s where we are.”

During Monday’s GBA AGM, Sylvester who was reappointed unopposed for another term will have serving as his Vice President, attorney Francis Paul, Secretary, Deloni Edwards, Treasurer, Sherice Noel and Council members – Kadeem Strachan, Danyish Harford, Donika Maxwell and Aloytha Maxwell.

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