1. The paramount obligation of criminal defense counsel is to provide zealous and quality representation to their clients at all stages of the criminal trial process. Attorneys also have an obligation to abide by the Canons of Professional Ethics, and act in accordance with the Rules of the Court.
2. Counsel assigned to a client by the Legal Aid Council is not allowed to receive or solicit money or any other form of compensation from a client. Any transaction of this nature will be cause for disciplinary action, unless the assignment has been revoked or surrendered.
3. Counsel is to advise the Legal Aid Council of any such revocation or surrender.
4. If the client is asked to make a contribution to the legal costs, this is done by way of a deposit slip given by the Legal Aid Council and is only directly payable by the client into the authorised bank account.
5. All clients granted legal aid by the Legal Aid Council must be given the same respect, necessary time and due diligence in relation to their matters as though they retained counsel privately.
6. Counsel must communicate to the client as best and often as possible concerning all matters and issues relating to his/her case and not allow the client to be deluded as to his prospects,
7. (A) Before accepting a legal aid assignment, counsel has an obligation to make sure that he/she has available sufficient time, resources, knowledge and experience to offer quality representation to the client.
(B) If it later appears that counsel is unable to offer quality representation in the case, counsel shall within a reasonable time bring the situation to the attention of the certifying authority who may assign some other attorney to the matter.
8. Counsel must be alert to all potential and actual conflicts of interest that would impair his/her ability to represent a client. Where appropriate, Counsel may be obliged to seek an advisory opinion from the Legal Aid Council on any potential conflicts.
9. Counsel must be familiar with the substantive criminal law and criminal practices and procedures which are relevant to the Jamaican criminal justice system, so as to provide sound legal representation to his/her client.Counsel has a continuing obligation to be and stay abreast of changes and developments in the law, so as to be better able to provide effective and relevant guidance to the client.
10. Counsel must employ standards of reasonable care and skill throughout his/her assignment and within the parameters of the law, Counsel must act in the best interest of his/her client and deliver representation honestly, competently and zealously.
11. Counsel has an obligation to attend on all court dates with respect to his/her assignment. Consistent failure to do so will be cause for revocation of the assignment and/or disciplinary action.
12. It is imperative that Counsel ensure that he/ she protect confidential information and keep safe all prescribed Forms regarding any Legal Aid assignment to him/her and when called upon must provide such Forms to the Legal Aid Council. Failure to so will result in withholding of remuneration.
13. Counsel should not declare to the Court that his or her representation is a legal aid assignment.
14. Any action by Counsel which can be deemed as negligent, neglectful or otherwise a gross disregard for the interests of the client, which has caused the client to be disadvantaged in any way will be cause for disciplinary action.