NEWS

40% Of lawyers Ask For Extension Of Time On Trust Accounts, Attorney-General Reveals

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said some lawyers were given up to three extensions on this.
09 Jan 2021 13:41
40% Of lawyers Ask For Extension Of Time On Trust Accounts, Attorney-General Reveals
Participants at the Fiji Law Society and International Bar Association Convention 2021 at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denarau, Nadi on January 8, 2021. Photo: DEPTFO News

Every year I get about 40 per cent of lawyers in private practice asking for extensions of time on their trust account audits being filed.

This was a statement made by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Fiji Law Society and International Bar Association Convention 2021 at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denarau, Nadi yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said some lawyers were given up to three extensions on this.

“I just did seven last night (Thursday night) before coming here. Some people get three extensions,” he said.

“So now we have made a policy, once we give two extensions, we don’t give anymore extensions after that.

“We don’t necessarily blame them, but perhaps that level of exposure, people may be going too early into private practice on their own.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added: “We did a recent survey, there are junior lawyers being paid $150 a week in some of the law firms. By comparison, if you join the A-G’s Office, if you work in some of the other statutory organisations your starting salary is over $30,000.

“The reality of the moment is that for at least the first five years, the revenues and salaries for those in private practice is far less than those who are actually working for Government-related or statutory-related organisations or indeed in the private sector working as corporate lawyers.”

He said it was important to discuss this to assist those practitioners to become better lawyers.

“We have to talk about these things reasonably in a very critical manner to look at the quality of practitioners and how we can assist those practitioners to become better lawyers,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added.

“I think it is about time that we are able to focus more in respect of management, in respect of training.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj


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