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Maldives to establish 'bar council' to regulate lawyers

09 April 2018, MVT 14:53
Attorney General Mohamed Anil presenting credentials to a lawyer who was sworn in at the ceremony held at Dharubaaruge, Male on April 8, 2018. MIHAARU PHOTO / HUSSEN WAHEED
09 April 2018, MVT 14:53

A bill concerning lawyers have been drafted by the government in order to establish a bar council in the Maldives to regulate lawyers.

Speaking at the lawyers’ oath-taking ceremony Sunday night, Attorney General Mohamed Anil revealed that the government, along with legal experts, have been working towards submitting the bill to the parliament, but that it was delayed due to unforeseeable circumstances.

Anil said that the bill would bring considerable changes to lawyers’ profession with the creation of a bar council, which would act as the regulatory body for lawyers.

“The bar council will oversee the work of all legal practitioners. We are now tirelessly working with relevant authorities and experts to further analyse the bill and we are coming to a close on its final draft,” the Attorney General said.

Anil noted how lawyers in the Maldives are able to take their oath after completing their LLB without any further training, and said that new lawyers in other parts of the world have to go through several stages before they become fully-fledged lawyers.

“In many countries, lawyers have to sit for a bar exam before they’re allowed to practice in the courts of law. We need to catch up, and set our standards to [these] examples. Maldives would soon be on par with these countries too – there is no doubt about that,” Anil said.

Lawyers’ duties are not limited to advocating in courtrooms, and their reach can be extended to various fields, Anil added, stating that the government would facilitate training programmes to enable this.

Different state institutes have acted as the regulatory body for lawyers throughout the years. The Ministry of Justice had initially overseen the lawyers, and then the responsibility was transferred to the Attorney General’s office. The lawyers are currently regulated by the Supreme Court.

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