12.01.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

Curacao Bar Association Challenges Lawyer Accreditation in New Gaming Legislation

The Curacao Bar Association has recently expressed significant concerns regarding the proposed accreditation for lawyers in the new draft Landsverordening on games of chance (LOK), which was submitted to the Parliament of Curacao on December 18.

This new regulation, aimed at restructuring the legal framework for online gaming, is now facing scrutiny for potentially undermining the independence of legal professionals.

Objections to the Accreditation Process

The heart of the controversy lies in the LOK’s provision that allows the Curacao Gaming Authority (CGA) to grant accreditations to legal service providers, including lawyers, who work with online gaming licensees. The Bar Association argues that this accreditation process could infringe upon the professional independence of lawyers, a cornerstone of legal practice.

The Bar Association highlights a critical point in their objection: lawyers are natural persons, not legal entities, making the LOK’s text potentially incorrect. They assert that the CGA should not have the authority to assess the competence of lawyers or subject them to additional regulations and restrictions. This, they argue, could violate Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which ensures the right to freely choose a lawyer for a fair trial.

Potential Impact on Online Gaming Licensees

The Bar Association is also concerned about the potential impact on clients in the online gaming sector. Accreditation could place undue restrictions on lawyers representing online gaming licensees, possibly disadvantaging them against opposing parties whose lawyers are not subject to the same constraints.

Furthermore, the Bar Association reminds that, according to the Advocatenlandsverordening 1959, the responsibility to assess lawyers and impose disciplinary measures falls solely to the Joint Court of Justice and the Council of Oversight of the Legal Profession.

In light of these concerns, the Bar Association is urging Members of Parliament to reconsider and amend the LOK. They propose removing or modifying the accreditation provision to protect the independence of lawyers and the rights of legal seekers.

Our Comment on the Article

The Curacao Bar Association’s stand against the proposed accreditation in the LOK highlights a significant tension between regulatory objectives and professional independence in the legal field, especially within the iGaming industry. This situation underscores the delicate balance between effective regulation and the safeguarding of fundamental legal principles like attorney independence and client rights.

The outcome of this legislative process in Curacao could set a precedent for how jurisdictions worldwide handle similar issues in the rapidly evolving iGaming sector. As this industry continues to grow and intersect with complex legal frameworks, the importance of preserving the core values and ethics of legal practice remains paramount.

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