Superior Court of the Virgin Islands
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Superior Court of the Virgin Islands

Rule 302. Special admission

(a) On motion on behalf of their departments or agencies, the V.I. Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney, the General Counsel of the Territorial Court, the Chief Legal Counsel of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands, the Chief Territorial Public Defender, the Federal Public Defender, the Supervising Attorney of Legal Services, or their authorized legal representatives, an attorney in good standing of the bar of any court of the United States, or of the highest court of any state, the District of Columbia, commonwealth, territory or possession of the U.S., who is not regularly admitted to practice before the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, and who is not under suspension or disbarment by any court, and who has paid all appropriate membership dues and licensing fees, may in the discretion of the Court be Specially Admitted to practice law in the Territorial Court, but only in his capacity as an employee of the moving department or agency.

(b) Proof of good standing shall be in the form of a current Certificate of Good Standing bearing the original seal of the highest court of the jurisdiction in which admitted, which shall accompany the motion. Additionally, the court may require the submission of such other information as might be deemed necessary to satisfy itself as to the attorney's fitness to practice specially before the court. A Certificate of Good Standing from a bar association is not sufficient for a Special Admission.

(c) An attorney specially admitted under this rule shall at all times be subject to the direction and control of the moving department or agency, which shall immediately notify the court of the termination of the attorney's employment. Upon receipt of said notification, the court shall enter an order vacating the special admission, provided, however, that the court may also terminate any special admission for cause or in the interest of justice, consistent with due process.

(d) An attorney specially admitted shall not hold himself out as a regular member of the Bar, and must promptly notify the court in writing of the termination of the employment upon which the special admission was based.--Added Mar. 30, 1992; amended Oct. 14, 1994, eff. Nov. 16, 1994.

Statutory References

Admission to practice without examination, see 4 V.I.C. ' 441.

Case Notes

Accredited law school

Admission to bar association

Jurisdiction

Residence requirements

Accredited law school

This rule requiring that person seeking admission to Bar be graduated from an accredited law school is not unreasonable or prejudicial. In re Saunders, D.C.V.I. 1969, 7 V.I. 132, 295 F. Supp. 263.

Where petitioner for admission to Virgin Islands Bar knowingly pursued a course of study at a non-accredited law school, court would not waive requirements of this rule that applicants for admission graduate from an accredited law school. In re Saunders, D.C.V.I. 1969, 7 V.I. 132, 295 F. Supp. 263.

Admission to bar association

Admission to Territorial Court bar is simultaneously admission to Virgin Islands bar. In re Application of Moorhead, Terr. Ct. St. T. and St. J. 1992, 27 V.I. 74.

Jurisdiction

Effective October 1, 1991, Territorial Court has jurisdiction to admit attorneys to practice before Virgin Islands bar. In re Application of Moorhead, Terr. Ct. St. T. and St. J. 1992, 27 V.I. 74.

Jurisdiction over local bar admissions is vested in courts established by local law, and since Appellate Division of District Court and District Court itself are courts established by federal law, they are incapable of having jurisdiction over admissions to Virgin Islands bar. In re Application of Moorhead, Terr. Ct. St. T. and St. J. 1992, 27 V.I. 74.

Since Territorial Court is the only court of the Virgin Islands established by local law, it is the only legal repository of jurisdiction over admissions to Virgin Islands bar. In re Application of Moorhead, Terr. Ct. St. T. and St. J. 1992, 27 V.I. 74.

Residence requirements

Provision of this rule requiring an applicant for admission to the Virgin Islands bar to allege and prove that if admitted he intends to reside, as well as practice, in the Virgin Islands, does not violate the Equal Protection Clause or deny the constitutional right to interstate travel. Aronson v. Ambrose, C.A.3d 1973, 10 V.I. 613, 479 F.2d 75.

If plaintiffs, who brought intentionally sweeping attack on the qualifications for membership to the bar, were properly denied recommendation that they be admitted because of their insistence that they did not intend to become fulltime residents or practitioners, or were properly denied recommendation on the basis of any other provision which they challenged, they were without standing to challenge constitutionality of prior residency requirement. Aronson v. Ambrose, D.C.V.I. 1972, 9 V.I. 254, 366 F. Supp. 37.

Rationality of decision that resident attorneys can more thoroughly perform their duties than nonresident attorneys, which was the basis for rule that one applying for admission to the bar must allege intent to reside and practice in the Virgin Islands, challenged as denying equal protection, was in no way dependent upon the ease of implementing the decision or upon the fact that an applicant could easily lie. Aronson v. Ambrose, D.C.V.I. 1972, 9 V.I. 254, 366 F. Supp. 37.

Bar applicant requirement of residence in Virgin Islands for one year prior to application for admission cannot be fulfilled by mere declaration of intention to reside therein. Thorstenn v. Barnard, C.A.3d 1987, 842 F.2d 1393, aff'd, 489 U.S. 546, 109 S. Ct. 1294, 103 L. Ed. 2d 559 (1989).

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