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May 10, 2019

3 Law Firms Retained to Represent Belize at I.C.J.

Dean Barrow

At the press conference on Thursday, the prime minister said that the team of international lawyers who will represent Belize at the I.C.J. is already on government’s payroll.  But what are they making and how much are they billing taxpayers for their services?  While PM Barrow could not come up with a concrete figure, he posited that attorneys often charge an hourly rate and that the grand total when the matter is concluded will depend on the number of hours they would have worked on the case.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“These lawyers charge by the hour and it’s hard to know beforehand how many hours will be billed or how many hours they will work.  I can tell you that certainly there are, I believe, three chambers that we’ve already retained.  I know the names of two certainly, Fresh Fields and the Essex chambers which I understand to be Sir Eli’s old chambers.  The gentleman from Essex is, I believe, Mr. Wordsworth will be helping to take the process forward.  Fresh Fields, I think, is the coordinating firm, but we will have more details.  Assad and Alexis are the ones that know most about what we have already done by way of retainer arrangements and we can come back to you as soon as in fact the notification is in and the clock, I can’t say starts running, starts running at an even faster pace in terms of the billing of these law firms.  Even then though, I expect extremely difficult to calculate a figure because there is so much that’s unknown.  As I said, how many hours, how much time.  Guatemala will have a year.  Suppose they do it in six months?  That should shorten on the hours.  So it’s not again an effort to try and keep anything away from you and the Belizean people but it is just impossible to know beforehand what we’re looking at.  We know it’s going to be a tidy sum, but I don’t know that I can go much beyond that.”

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