NEWS

ANALYSIS: More Lawyers Face Misconduct Charges

More high profile lawyers will soon be facing the Independent Legal Services Commission. The Commission was set up by the Government in 2009 to act on charges against lawyers stemming
16 Jul 2015 09:08
ANALYSIS: More Lawyers Face Misconduct Charges

More high profile lawyers will soon be facing the Independent Legal Services Commission.

The Commission was set up by the Government in 2009 to act on charges against lawyers stemming from complaints people lodged with the Legal Practitioners Unit.

Previously, the Fiji Law Society had been tasked to look into complaints lodged against lawyers. But unfortunately there wasn’t much justice done.

The Fiji Law Society was often seen as protecting lawyers rather than providing justice to clients who complained.

On the other hand, under the experienced judicial leadership of the Commissioner Judge, Justice Paul Madigan, the Commission has not wasted time.

Lawyers who have used clients’ money, or not provided services they have charged for, are amongst those to face Justice Madigan.

So far:

– 12 lawyers have been suspended

– 14 have been fined

– 5 have been struck off the legal practitioners list

Those to face the commission have included major names such as Muhammad Shamsud-Dean Sahu Khan, Rajendra Chaudhry, Azeem Ud Dean Sahu Khan, Kini Marawai, Vilimone Vosarogo,

Those who are currently being investigated include more high profile names. One prominent name is accused of giving a client the runaround and not paying what he held on behalf of the client.

 

THE ROLE

The Independent Legal Services Commission was set up to discipline lawyers found to have been misconducting themselves. The Law Society was primarily a body to cater for practitioners’ welfare and education and to make representations to Government on lawyers’ behalf. So there was a real gap in taking lawyers to task.

 

HOW TO COMPLAIN

Complaints Against Legal Practitioners (from the Legal Practitioners Unit website)

– If you have a complaint against a legal practitioner or a law firm, you have to fill a ‘Complaint Form’ available at all Court Registries.

– Please ensure that the form is complete and that all the necessary supporting documents are furnished.

– Upon receipt of the Complaint Form, the Legal Practitioners Unit will be issuing the complainant a letter acknowledging the complaint and also provide you with a ‘reference number ’ which should be quoted in all future correspondence.

– After receiving the complaint, the LPU will do a Preliminary Brief Assessment of the complaint and may contact you for further information/ supporting documents.

– Thereafter the complaint is referred to the legal practitioner for their response within a stipulated time frame. Failure to respond may result in prosecution.

– Upon receipt of the response, a copy is forwarded to the Complainant for their response

– File is referred to the Legal Officer for further action.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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