Re­view of ‘Sim­ply Law’

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Dr. Robert Har­vey

‘Sim­ply Law’ is a highly com­mend­able and in­ter­est­ing work com­bin­ing a hu­man ap­proach to the legal pro­fes­sion with a busi­nesslike treat­ment of its many as­pects. It is un­doubt­edly a use­ful ref­er­ence, not only for young prac­tis­ing Caribbean lawyers but more so for the or­di­nary lay-per­son, who will be con­fronted with many of the is­sues treated in the text.

Ms Glas­gow’s ex­am­i­na­tion of var­i­ous legal is­sues shows depth, par­tic­u­larly in her anal­y­sis of the ethics un­der­ly­ing crime and pun­ish­ment, moral­ity and in­di­vid­ual choices. She stresses that the law is a sys­tem of rules for the smooth func­tion­ing of so­ci­ety and takes some of the mys­tery out of the legal sys­tem. Some cur­rent goals of the St Lu­cian law fra­ter­nity are high­lighted, par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to their phys­i­cal ac­com­mo­da­tions, the Bar As­so­ci­a­tion’s ac­tiv­i­ties, and the stream­lin­ing of ad­min­is­tra­tive tasks. Through­out the text there is an em­pha­sis on re­spect for the courts, cour­tesy to­wards peo­ple work­ing in the legal sys­tem, and guid­ance on their roles.

Con­cern for the client’s ex­pense and pri­vacy has led the au­thor to ex­plain the process of me­di­a­tion as an al­ter­na­tive to lit­i­ga­tion. She fur­ther in­tro­duces the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice as the new court of fi­nal ap­peal, which will ob­vi­ate the ex­pense of travel to the UK for Privy Coun­cil hear­ings. The book also gives warn­ing of those legal pro­ce­dures which may prove to be time con­sum­ing, and the typ­i­cal wait­ing pe­riod for cer­tain trans­ac­tions due to back­logs in the St Lu­cian sys­tem.

Em­pa­thy for col­leagues is embodied in the ad­vice to po­ten­tial clients to agree on fees be­fore­hand and to pay debts on time. Prac­tis­ing lawyers will also find a handy ref­er­ence in the statutes high­lighted un­der many chap­ter head­ings and the cases quoted as key prece­dents. An­other com­mend­able as­set of the text is the com­par­i­son be­tween legal train­ing and prac­tice in the Caribbean and other ju­ris­dic­tions, par­tic­u­larly the UK.

To fur­ther en­rich the dis­cus­sion, the book hints at an aca­demic’s per­cep­tion of legal prac­tice. The com­par­i­son be­tween the teach­ing pro­fes­sion and the prac­tice of law in so­ci­ety is an in­ter­est­ing one, touch­ing on is­sues of au­ton­omy and the ex­pec­ta­tions of the public. There are also over­tones of the link be­tween pol­i­tics and law, in­di­cat­ing why many lawyers be­come politi­cians. Drawing upon her ex­pe­ri­ence of in­ter­views and me­dia ex­po­sure, the au­thor pro­vides valu­able in­sight on how to ap­proach th­ese sit­u­a­tions and the po­ten­tial for defama­tion of char­ac­ter.

‘Sim­ply Law’ looks at the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of lawyers to the courts and to clients, and deals with tricky is­sues such as truth and dis­clo­sure. There are en­ter­tain­ing sec­tions such as ‘How to be a Su­per­star lawyer’, de­scrib­ing the popular im­age as well as the re­al­ity of what can be a stress­ful, high pro­file and re­ward­ing pro­fes­sion – from the view­point of one with a real pas­sion for the the­ory and prac­tice of law.

The Con­ser­va­tion Trust was, how­ever, un­suc­cess­ful in per­suad­ing the CCJ that there was an ar­guable case jus­ti­fy­ing a grant of spe­cial leave to ap­peal.

The book ex­am­in­ing var­i­ous legal

is­sues is now avail­able lo­cally.

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