10 Jul 2009

Large majority of Fiji's lawyers issued with practising certificates

2:46 pm on 10 July 2009

Fiji's interim government has issued practising certificates to a large majority of Fiji's lawyers.

The Chief Registrar's Office, which took over the role from the Fiji Law Society, has publicly listed 337 lawyers who have been permitted to practice.

Former Law Society president, Graham Leung, is an outspoken critic of the military regime and one of the small number of lawyers who did not reapply.

Mr Leung says his decision was a matter of principle and conscience.

"The large majority of lawyers took an entirely pragmatic view of the situation and I'm not going to criticise them for that. Those are individual decisions. But really at a time of crisis such as this one might have hoped that the lawyers might have demonstrated greater leadership."

Graham Leung says compliance with the military regime is disappointing but not surprising given that the lawyers have to earn a living.