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Suva Lawyer Issued Interim Practising Certificate

Suva Lawyer Issued Interim Practising Certificate
April 27
11:00 2018

Defence lawyer Aseri Vakaloloma was issued with an interim practising certificate on Wednesday by the Inde­pendent Legal Services Commissioner Jus­tice Thomas Hickie.

Mr Vakaloloma appeared before Justice Hickie represented by Defence lawyer Bar­bara Malimali.

Ms Malimali informed Justice Hickie that Mr Vakaloloma’s previous interim practis­ing certificate had expired on Monday and he had to appear in the Court of Appeal yes­terday and today.

Justice Hickie questioned the lawyer why Mr Vakaloloma was taking up matters listed after the expiry of his practising certificate.

Ms Malimali said her client was an optimis­tic man who believed everything would work out in his favour.

She also said lawyers were served with a no­tice to appear in the higher courts.

Before granting Mr Vakaloloma an interim practising certificate, Justice Hickie said it was imperative for lawyers to apply annu­ally in January under the legislation for the renewal of their practising certificates and for them to keep in contact with the Commis­sion to pay any outstanding fees and comply with all requirements.

Justice Hickie granted Mr Vakaloloma the interim practising certificate, which expires on May 31, 2018.

He also warned Mr Vakaloloma not to take up any court cases in the last week of May.

Mr Vakaloloma faces four counts of alleged professional misconduct.

On the first count, as a legal practitioner on November 19, 2015, he was allegedly adjudged by the Supreme Court of Nauru in discipli­nary proceedings before the late Chief Jus­tice Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as guilty of two counts of professional misconduct for which the respondent was consequently struck off the Roll of Barristers and Solicitors in Na­uru and thus in contravention of Section 82 (1) (b) of the Legal Practitioners Act of 2009.

On count two, he allegedly failed in his duty to Court in the High Court on February 28, 2017, where he represented four accused per­sons and allegedly failed to ensure the timely lodgement of his application for the renewal of his practising certificate hence allegedly causing unnecessary delay in the High Court proceedings.

On the third count, on September 28, 2016 he allegedly failed in his duty to the court in the High Court where as defence lawyer for an accused person he withdrew as the lawyer on record without formally seeking leave of the Court to do so which allegedly resulted in the waste of the Court’s time and the disrup­tion of proceedings.

For the fourth count, on September 28, 2016, he allegedly failed in his duty to his client when he withdrew as the lawyer on record without leave of the court, and abandoned the said client during the proceedings.

On the second count, Ms Malimali said they agreed that Mr Vakaloloma had appeared without a valid practising certificate, howev­er, they did not agree that he caused a delay in the trial.

Lawyer Tui Kilakila appeared on behalf of the Legal Practitioners Unit (LPU).

The case has been adjourned to June 4, 2018, for mention.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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