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Bar Association warns against touting, advertising of legal services by unauthorized persons

SEE BELOW THE FULL STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE BAR ASSOCIATION OF GUYANA:

The Bar Association of Guyana has been monitoring and observing with concern, the advertising of legal services particularly by persons who are not duly authorized to practice law in Guyana.

The practice of law in Guyana without being duly permitted to do so under the Legal Practitioners Act, Cap. 4:01 is an offence pursuant to S. 45(1)(c) thereof and punishable by a fine of up to $500,000.00 and imprisonment for one year.

Similarly, the advertisement of legal services in Guyana is strictly prohibited pursuant to Rule VI of the said Act, whether by Attorneys-at-Law and or any person whatsoever.

PART VI (1) “The advertisement of legal service in or through any medium is strictly forbidden.”

Touting is also an offence under the aforesaid Act punishable by a fine and imprisonment for six (6) months. A tout is defined in the said Act as –

“a person who procures in consideration of any remuneration moving from any legal practitioner or from any person on his behalf, the employment of such legal practitioner in any legal business …”

The Bar Association notes, the heightened frequency especially over the past year of persons who are not duly admitted to practice law in Guyana brazenly advertising the offer of legal services which in some instances, includes the preparation of a number of legal documents touching and concerning inter alia divorces, custody, deeds, leases, conveyances, agreements, land transactions and estates.

We also note with alarm, the abuse by some Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths to Affidavits of their commission, in performing legal services including the drafting of legal documents contrary to the Legal Practitioners Act, Cap. 4:01. With regard hereto, Justices of the Peace and or Commissioners of Oaths to Affidavits are only permitted pursuant to S. 96 of the Evidence Act, Cap. 5:03 to certify the receipt of such oaths, affirmations and or statutory declarations. Such commission does NOT extend to and or permit the drafting and or preparation of any legal documents or in any way permit the performance of any legal service.

The Association has in certain cases brought same to the attention of the Honourable Attorney General with a view of having the commissions revoked of infringing Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths to Affidavits.

We therefore caution that persons found to be offering legal services without being duly authorised to so do and or advertising such legal services will be brought before the Courts to be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

Members of the public may contact the Bar Office (231-4464 or guyanabar@gmail.com) or the Supreme Court Registry to ensure that persons they are engaging with and or propose to engage with are in fact Attorneys-at-Law duly registered on the Rolls of Court and thereby authorised to practice law and offer legal services in Guyana.

Dated 9th May, 2023.

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