25 May 2009

Fiji's Attorney-General says changes in licensing lawyers will improve transparency

11:24 am on 25 May 2009

Fiji's Attorney-General says legal reforms will improve transparency and access to justice.

Following a raid on Fiji's Law society offices on Saturday, licenses for lawyers will now be issued by the chief registrar and new legal professional standards are to be introduced.

The law society says during the raid, the government authorities behaved like thugs.

The Attorney-General in Suva, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says the new system will help address complaints made against some of Fiji's top lawers.

"There have been for a number of years now, approximately 80-90 outstanding complaints against lawyers ranging from excessive charging of legal fees to all sorts of other misappropriations or whatever. The unfortunate thing is these complaints are in fact assessed by the very people against whom the complaints are made."

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says complaints against lawyers will now be heard a by a specially appointed commissioner.