Friday, January 29, 2010

Legal Commission ‘an independent avenue’

Complaints against lawyers in Fiji will now be dealt with independently and fairly instead of being assessed by their own peers as was the previous practice, says Attorney General Aiyaz-Sayed Khaiyum.

Sayed-Khaiyum was referring to the Independent Legal Services Commission which he officially opened in Suva today.

The Commission has been operational for several months, hearing disciplinary cases against lawyers.

“We borrowed the Decree (Legal Practitioner’s Decree 2009) from New South Wales and Queensland (to set up the Commission) so there’s nothing new about it,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“It’s simply the question of having the political will and putting our heads together to see whether it can work in Fiji.”

Such a system he said, will also create a sense of empowerment for citizens.

Sayed-Khaiyum said there had been complaints against lawyers of trivial matters such as lawyers being rude to clients to abuse of trust fund accounts.

Commissioner and former High Court judge John Connors told FijiLive the use of new technology such as video facilities was a timely boost for them and would improve their service.

Connors said he hoped the technology would be used in other government departments like Fiji’s courts for the sake of transparency and efficiency.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Establishment of an Indepedent legal commission is an excellent idea. A commendable idea from the attorney General. This instituition provides opportunities to the lawyers to weed out inefficiencies and substanadard practice. It also gives public some assurance to expect fair and equitable service from lawyers some of whom were overcharging, taking money and doing nothing and notifying of wrong hearing dates.For example charging a fee of $3500 for a simple letter.The lawyers should complete a professional development course before yearly licence is renewed.Complaints should be reviewed and formal assurances must be given by the lawyers before renewal of licences.