Wednesday, October 16, 1996

Don Mitchell's Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae[1]
Ian Donaldson Mitchell QC
St Kitts, 15 August 1946, to Arthur Donaldson Mitchell of Saint Vincent and Grenada and Murielle Agnes Owen of Molyneaux, St Kitts
Mrs McCarthy’s Primary School, Woodford Lodge, Trinidad
Abbey School, Mt St Benedict, Trinidad
Becket College, St Mary at Hill, London
Owen Lane, North Hill, Anguilla
22 July 1971, at the Hon Society of the Inner Temple
27 September 1971, the High Court, Basseterre, St Kitts
11 February 1981, at the High Court, The Valley, Anguilla
1 August 1971 to 28 February 1972 at the Chambers of Frank Henville QC in Basseterre, St Kitts
1971-1976: Practice as a sole practitioner at Chambers rented from the estate of the late Sir Geoffrey Boone QC at Bank Street, Basseterre
1976-1980: Magistrate and Registrar of the Supreme Court at The Valley in Anguilla
1981-present: Senior Partner in the firm of Mitchell’s Chambers at The Valley in Anguilla
Over the past 15 years acted as Solicitor and Counsel in 409 Anguillian High Court and Court of Appeal cases
Legal Services
to the
1973                    Helped establish the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation, an umbrella organisation of Caribbean FPAs, registered it in Anguilla in 1985 as a not for profit corporation, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
1978                   Helped form the Anguilla Family Planning Association as an unregistered body and later registered it as a Friendly Society, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
                            Helped form the Anguilla Archaeological and Historical Society, registered it as a not-for-profit corporation in 1988, and acted as legal adviser to the present time
1981                   Registered the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association as a not-for-profit corporation, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
1982                   Registered the Friends of the Methodist Pre-School Society as a Friendly Society, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
1983                   Registered the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce as a not-for-profit corporation, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
1988                   Registered the Caribbean Institute of Perinatology, a regional medical charitable body, as a not-for-profit corporation, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
1990                   Registered the Anguilla Marine Heritage Society as a not-for-profit corporation, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
1993                   Registered the Princess Alexandra Hospital Auxiliary as a Friendly Society, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
                            Appointed legal adviser to the Anguilla National Trust, a statutory corporation with historical and environmental objectives, and acted as its legal adviser to the present time
Other non-
Service and

1972-1976          Member and later President of the St Kitts Jaycees, a young person’s self-improvement organisation
                            Member and later President of the St Kitts-Nevis Family Planning Association
1978 – present   Founding member of the Anguilla Rotary Club, an international community service organisation
1980-1989          Elected by Caribbean family planning associations to be a Board Member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (Western Hemisphere Region) Inc, a New York based non-profit corporation which acts as an umbrella organisation for all the FPAs of the Americas
1986- present     Member of the Fountain National Park Development Committee appointed by the Parliamentary Secretary
1988                    Appointed a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International by the Anguilla Rotary Club in recognition of service to the community
1988- present     Member of the Caribbean Conservation Association, a Barbados-based regional conservation organisation, and presently serves as a member of its Board of Directors
1989-1992          Elected Honourary International Legal Counsel to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a London-based umbrella organisation of all the world’s family planning associations
1991- present     Coach to the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School Literary and Debating Society, preparing students each year to compete in the Leeward Islands Debating Competition
1991- present     Life member of the St Kitts-Nevis Heritage Society, a conservation and historical society
1993- present     Member of the Anguilla National Steering Committee for Money and Capital Markets of the ECCB, appointed by the Minister of Finance
1994- present     President of the Anguilla Financial Services Association, which groups all lawyers, accountants and company management services in Anguilla
1995                    Appointed a Senator of Jaycees International for services to the Anguilla Jaycees
1995- present     Member of the Marine Wrecks Committee, appointed by the Parliamentary Secretary to advise on the conservation of Anguilla’s underwater heritage
Dated 16 October 1996

[1]               Prepared at the request of Joseph Archibald QC for his assistance in calling me to the Inner Bar on 18 October 1996

Tuesday, June 25, 1996

Origins - Don Mitchell Travels Through Time

From the Inner Temple to Anguilla
Don Mitchell travels through time[1]
In June 1971, having been duly called to the bar in the Old Hall of the Inner Temple, I returned to St Kitts in the West Indies to learn what the practise of law was all about.  I have been born in the poor, mainly black, rural sugar-cane growing island of St Kitts.  My parents emigrated from that island, and I grew up in the polyglot, polychrome, cosmopolitan island of Trinidad.  Not being a citizen of that island, I could not commence my working career there without a work permit.  In my native island of St Kitts was my elderly uncle Frank Henville QC, who could help me to get started.  He invited me to do my pupillage with him, and after six months I then went out on my own.  My shingle described me as a barrister and solicitor of the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court.
The first five years were more difficult than I could have anticipated.  My wife fortunately worked, or we would have starved.  In the early years, it was mainly a Magistrate’s Court practice.  One had to do ten cases a day to survive, and I was lucky to have one or two cases.  I could not have managed without the assistance and encouragement of two persons, the senior Magistrate, later Sir Clement A Arrindell GCMG, CGVO, QC, Governor General, and a colleague only slightly older than myself, Dennis Byron, now senior Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. 
Then, in August 1976 came an invitation from the Government of Anguilla to serve as Magistrate of this Island of 7,000 souls.  My wife and I took an air taxi the 90 mile trip from St Kitts, and spent a day looking around.  I discovered that I had more cousins in Anguilla even than in St Kitts.  Within a month we had relocated, and now you could not prise us loose with a rock-shattering Priestman.  There followed four years on the bench, from which I learned even more about the practice of law.  For several years after there was no resident private practice lawyer, and the only government lawyers were the Attorney-General, the late Reginald Lucie-Smith and myself.  In Anguilla at that time, the duties of Magistrate also included those of Registrar of the Supreme Court, Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Registrar of Companies, Marriage Officer, Coroner, Registrar of Trade Marks, Registrar of Patents, Registrar of Trades Unions, Registrar of Newspapers, and many others, seventeen in all.
Just a few days before my four year contract came to an end, in December 1980, the Commissioner called me in to say that he was sorry, but the Chief Minister required that he fire me as Magistrate.  I had been guilty of counselling the striking Civil Service.  I had persuaded a few hot-heads not to firebomb the lone secondary school in protest at what they perceived was political victimisation of some of their members, following a change of government after a general election.  So, back out into private practice I went, with my father’s old .455 Webley revolver under my pillow for protection for the first six months.  It is back in the vault now, only brought out occasionally to fire at the odd stray dog.
The 1980s was a good time to be a barrister and solicitor in Anguilla with 10 years of experience under one’s belt.  The offshore financial industry had its early beginnings then.  One stayed out of politics.  The clients poured in.  One worked 18 hours a day.  The house and pool got built.  The freehold of the office was acquired.  A small investment portfolio was built up.  Then came the crash of October 1987, and the recession that followed.  Yes, it affected Anguilla too.  If only because the tourist industry was hit, and also the clients no longer had any tax-free dollars or pounds sterling to hide in Anguilla.
Our practice now is almost completey computerised.  Our accounts clerk tells me that the fees can be almost equally divided into three areas of legal practice:  local commercial, offshore commercial, and litigation.  The local commercial advice is given to clients that include banks, investment companies, trust companies, hotels, restaurants, building contractors, and land developers.  The offshore commercial work seems to come mainly from the USA and Canada.  There is a sprinkling of clients from Switzerland, the UK, France, South America, Hong Kong and Japan.  There is the husband buying a condo in Miami for the girlfriend, and the exporter doing a little re-invoicing.  There are also the classic asset protection trusts.  And the captive insurance companies to make life really interesting.  The Judge visits once in a while.  Anguilla is considered too small to have its own Judge.  So, the Judge who normally resides in the nearby sister Dependent Territory of Montserrat visits two or three times a year.  And, of course, when he is here everything else is expected to come to a dead stop while the barristers/solicitors hang around the old Court House hoping their case will come up on time, or at least, next best to that, within a day or two.
Now, one’s 25th anniversary at the bar is around the corner.  Young practitioners call one up and ask for advice.  The schools and the churches and the young people’s associations invite one to address them on social, political and economic issues.  One’s done one’s service and been a member of all the social and cultural groups.  There are now two associates in the Chambers to help now.  One is still working 18 hours a day, but now, in the hard days of the 1990s, one’s invoices aren’t always paid.  One doesn’t get to visit London and dine in the Old Hall at the Inner Temple very often any longer.  And one’s still wondering what new development the practice of law in Anguilla will bring.
Tuesday 25 June 1996
Revised August 2014
First published in Anguilla Life Magazine, in July 1996, under the heading “Origins”.

[1]               First published in Anguilla Life Magazine in July 1996