Bar Council says it does not support two exams for same purpose

Bar Council executive committee members pictured during the Bar Council Forum. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives Bar Council has stated that it was not in favor of conducting two examinations for the same purpose and was in favor of the initial amendment to the Legal Profession Act.

Bar Council President Maumoon Hameed said to Sun that the amendment was to find alleviations for current graduates who cannot obtain their licenses due to the difficulties posed by COVID-19.

The LPA states that only upon the completion of the bar exam, can the license to practice law be issued. A large number of graduates are expressing concern over the fact that a bar exam is yet to be formulated despite the act being ratified almost a year ago. 

The Judiciary Committee of the Parliament proposed the move to issue licenses to graduates by undergoing a one-month long training program for graduates currently waiting, after evaluating a proposal by Dhangethi MP Mohamed Nazim.

The Parliament today, voted in favor of an amendment to the Legal Profession Act that will see the license for attorneys issued after the completion of a one-month long training program.

MP for North Maafannu Imthiyaz Fahmy said today, that the Bar Council of the Maldives has once again provided excuses to the parliament by saying that licenses for attorneys could not be issued by completing a one-month training program.

Despite this, the Bar Council has said that the amendment would cause an extra burden on graduates. The Council said that under the current LPA, along with amendment today, the LPA would now stipulate that graduates would have to undergo the training program as well as the examinations. The Bar Council also said that the seven days provided for the formation of a program designed to last 30 days were too few. 

The amendment passed today stated that policies for the training program are to be formulated by the Bar Council within seven days of the enactment of the law and publishing on the gazette. The program must be conducted within a period of seven days, according to the amendment.  Upon completion of the training program, the Bar Council must facilitate the licensing of the graduates within 21 days.

The graduates would still be required to take part in the next bar examination, despite undertaking the training program, however, the amendment does not say what is to happen if they do not do so. Voting on the amendment for graduates unable to obtain their licenses is to be held in the parliament today.

Council President Maumoon Hameed said that the amendment passed today does not achieve its true purpose in any manner.