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Hickie To Lawyers: Address Mistakes

Hickie To Lawyers:  Address Mistakes
September 03
11:14 2017

Lawyers shouldn’t hide their heads in the sand if they commit mistakes, says the Independent Legal Services Commissioner Thomas Hickie.

Mr Hickie made this statement at the Fiji Law Society Convention 2017 at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort in Nadroga yesterday.

Mr Hickie said, the five major problems detected between 2009 and 2016 were 21 per cent on failure to respond to the Chief Registrar, 16 per cent were practicing certificate issues, 13 per cent on trust account issues, 14 per cent on disrespectful behaviour and 10 per cent on failure to obtain instructions.

Some of these matters were dealt with by the Chief Registrar; and the more serious matters were dealt with by the Independent Legal Services Commission.

Even though it would be a tough profession, he added it was an important profession with great benefits.

But if they transgressed, Mr Hickie said it was appropriate they were dealt with.

“It’s not about making mistakes, it’s about owning up about your mistakes rather than putting your head in the sand. Human beings make mistakes but then it’s about how you deal with it.

“Unfortunately lawyers put their head in the sand and don’t want to deal with their mistakes,” he said.

Communication, Mr Hickie added, was an important component between a lawyer and the client.

“You should be clear on the cost, the timeline, make sure the clients understand the case if they don’t know the English language, put it in such a way they understand what is going on.

“It’s really important that after every court appearance, the client knows what is going on. There is nothing worse when the client who sits there for a long period of time trying to understand what is going on,” he said.

Mr Hickie said problems would escalate if lawyers failed to share the problems they faced.

For trust account matters, he added lawyers needed to supervise the person who looked after their trust accounts.

Fiji Law Society President Laurel Vaurasi said they would take the issues into consideration.

“The Commissioner has obviously hit the nail on the head, we do need to have more workshops, have more seminars and if there is anything we need to do, is a survey of our members, how are they practicing, how they are keeping their trust accounts,” Ms Vaurasi said.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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