The Parliament's Judiciary Committee decided on Tuesday to amend the Legal Profession Act to allowing the Bar Council to deal with cases involving lawyers outside the legal field.
The committee has passed the bill to amend the Legal Profession Act with amendments proposed by Vilimale' MP Ahmed Usham.
The government had proposed that Bar Council be allowed to deal with cases involving lawyers, even if they are outside their area of work. According to the existing law, Bar Council can handle cases involving lawyers only if they are related to the legal field.
The committee passed the amendments today so that the Bar Council can deal with cases involving lawyers if they act in violation to the code of ethics, or if their actions undermine the legal profession. The amendment states that the Bar Council can initiate investigations over a lawyer's conduct on their own, even if they had not received a complaint against them.
The committee also passed to empower the bar council to charge fees from lawyers to run the council, in addition to empowering them to fine lawyers as well.
Amendments made to repeal the previous section of the law requiring those who were granted permission to practice law in 2020 to re-conduct bar exams was passed by the committee as well.
While the committee passed the motion to take action lawyers even in cases outside the legal field, the Bar Council had recently been under a lot of criticism against for failing to take action against lawyer Nazim Sattar, after it was proven he had taken had homosexual intercourse. Homosexual relations are illegal in Maldives.
However, the Bar Council had stated at the time even that due to the way the Legal Profession Act was, such a case was not within their jurisdiction. This is because it has nothing to do with the scope of the lawyers' work.