Bermudian barrister Justin Williams, elected to the position at the legal fraternity’s governing body’s annual general meeting last Wednesday, said he has several immediate goals including the exploration of the reintroduction of the prestigious designation, which allows barristers to add the initials QC after their name and to ‘take silk’ — a reference to the special silk gown they may wear in court. They are also often called ‘Silks’.
Mr Williams explained: “In 1994 Bar Council decided to revoke the Bermuda Bar (Queen’s Counsel) Rules 1988. This matter continues to be a topic of discussion among the members of the bar. Bar Council is considering reopening the process for local attorneys to apply for Queen’s Counsel status.”
Membership exists in various Commonwealth jurisdictions around the world.
Mr Williams said he has a series of immediate aims for his term in office, which are:
- Consider the implementation of conditional or contingency fees, thus ensuring the availability of access to justice to all members of the community;
- Seek to provide all returning Bermudian law graduates with opportunities for pupillages with local law firms, which are necessary for admission to the Bermuda Bar to become a qualified barrister and attorney;
- Study potential amendments to the Bar Act in relation to Registered Associates working abroad;
- Consider recommending the availability of more notaries to the public;
- Examining the possibility of re-establishing the right to Queen’s Counsel status in Bermuda.
The new Bar Council President was called to the Bermuda Bar in 1989, and is a civil and commercial litigator. He acts as magistrate, coroner and chairman of family court. He served as an Acting Puisne Court judge in 2004.