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Parliament passes Legal Professions Bill

Mariyam Malsa
26 June 2019, MVT 20:29
Photograph taken at the oathtaking ceremony for lawyers. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
26 June 2019, MVT 20:29

The parliament, on Tuesday, unanimously passed the Legal Professions Bill which stipulates the creation of a Bar Association to regulate the legal field.

The parliament's Judiciary Committee brought certain amendments before it was passed by the votes of 69 parliamentarians.

The bill was initially submitted under the name 'Government Service Bill' by Maafannu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy during the 18th Parliament. The Parliamentary Committee on Independent Institutions amended and forwarded the bill to the parliament floor. However, the bill was sent back following a vote.

MP Fahmy resubmitted the bill to the 19th parliament after the bill was annulled at the conclusion of the previous parliamentary term.

The bill states that its purpose is to issue legal licences, provide additional training to lawyers, take necessary disciplinary action, regulate all matters relating to the work of lawyers and endeavour to develop the legal field in Maldives.

As per the bill, a Bar Council will be formed and tasked with designating specialisations, guaranteeing rights and privileges to all Maldivian lawyers and setting standards for legal trainings.

In addition to possessing the authority to make and receive formal accusations, the Bar Council will have the right to acquire and maintain movable or immovable capital.

According to the Judiciary Committee's amendments, the Bar Council will be managed by a nine-member executive committee and permanent subcommittees formed by the executive committee.

Members of the executive committee except for the Attorney General must be elected to their posts via a vote by the registered lawyers in Maldives.

As per the legal professions bill, the lawyers' representative on the Judicial Service Commission can be removed from the post prior to the end of his or her five-year term. The current member, Latheefa Qasim will conclude her term in November.

If 20 percent of the registered lawyers in Maldives submit a petition to dismiss the JSC representative, a vote regarding the matter must be conducted within 14 days of submission.

Furthermore, the Judiciary Committee excluded the provision in the original bill that stated that the Bar Council's jurisdiction did not extend to the work of lawyers employed at the Attorney General's Office and the Prosecutor General's Office.

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