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Mandatory apprenticeship for lawyers on St. Maarten

THURSDAY, 03 JANUARY 2013

PHILIPSBURG–Established lawyers who are considering a move to St. Maarten may soon be faced with a second apprenticeship based on a draft law prepared by the Justice Ministry.

The new law will make it “compulsory” for all new lawyers who come to the country to follow a two to three-year course specifically focused on the “practice of procedure, gathering of evidence and how to act in court,” according to Justice Minister Roland Duncan.

This apprenticeship will be in addition to the one graduates from a law programme have to follow before being able to set up a practice of their own.

Duncan said on a recent radio programme on Voice of St. Maarten that Professor Jan de Boer has drafted the law, which the St. Maarten Bar Association has already reviewed and submitted their initial questions to the ministry. De Boer was also involved in the drafting of the country’s new Civil Code.

The Bar Association had “some questions” on the draft, according to the minister, because of the “influx” of lawyers who come to the country from elsewhere in the Dutch Kingdom and “then leave after three years.”
Duncan said, “If you come to live here even for a day and you are going to practice law, you are going to practice law based on our rules.”

Although, there is a general law in the Dutch Kingdom on procedures, St. Maarten has “a few specifics” in its laws as well as “some marked differences” in its new Penal Code compared to the codes on the other Dutch Caribbean islands and The Netherlands.

“If a lawyer wants to practice on St. Maarten he has to be able to deal with this; we insist,” he declared.

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