On 9 March 2018, the Bermuda Bar Council held a hastily-convened Special General Meeting of the Bermuda Bar Association for the sole purpose of debating and voting on the potential re-introduction of a local Queen’s Counsel appointment scheme in Bermuda.
What was the reason for such haste?
The President of the Bermuda Bar Council explained that the issue had been the subject of an inconclusive consultation exercise on the part of the Bar Council in 2014, but that the issue had now become ripe for active debate and a potential vote by the membership, in light of the news that a member of the Bermuda Bar (who happened to be dual-qualified in England and Wales as well) had recently been appointed as a Queen’s Counsel of England and Wales.
The SGM did not get off to a smooth start, as a matter of procedure, since various members of the Bermuda Bar Association pointed out that the wording of the proposed resolution (the subject of the Bar Council’s requisition notice) did not appear to reflect the Bar Council’s own intentions, nor the views of the majority of members present at the meeting.
Various members of the Bermuda Bar Association also expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of (accurate and complete) information provided in support of the Bar Council’s proposals, and the apparent haste with which the SGM had been requisitioned and scheduled.
In the circumstances, the majority of members voted in favour of a motion to adjourn the SGM, on the basis that ‘the QC issue’ would be given further consideration by the Bermuda Bar Council, and then brought back to the membership either at the Annual General Meeting scheduled for April 2018, or on a date as reasonably practicable thereafter.
As to the substance of ‘the QC issue’, various views were expressed by certain members of the Bermuda Bar Association and the Bermuda Bar Council in the course of a short debate, but it would be very hard to suggest that any consensus view emerged, as a basis of that short debate.
The more that changes, the more that stays the same …