Big changes ahead for legal sector, says AG

A bar council to regulate lawyers is to be formed, the attorney general said, as he indicated changes to the legal sector including a compulsory bar exam.

Mohamed Anil, who was addressing 175 newly licensed lawyers on Sunday night, said steps were being taken to develop and maintain quality in the legal profession.

“We [AG Office] and other relevant authorities are currently researching a draft bill on lawyers to make sure they are regulated by a bar council,” he told them.

The attorney general’s office and the justice ministry previously regulated lawyers, but the work is now undertaken by the Supreme Court.

In the Maldives anyone with a law degree can become a licensed legal practitioner, but Anil said this would no longer be the case.

“Some countries have compulsory bar exams. Those who fail this exam cannot practice law. These changes will come to the Maldives,” Anil said.

He also emphasised the importance of giving lawyers the opportunity to expand their talents and gain experience.

Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Areef also spoke at the ceremony, announcing that the court was trying to set up a judicial academy.

He said the academy would conduct training programmes for lawyers and act as a hub to provide professional development options for legal practitioners.

He advised the newly licensed lawyers to uphold laws and maintain justice by “not deceiving the courts and assisting perpetrators to hide their crimes.”

The judiciary has been rocked by a state of emergency that led to two top judges being imprisoned and facing trial on terrorism and bribery charges.

Around 20 constitutional rights were suspended and there is concern about the independence of the legal profession and the rule of law.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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