Bar Council moves to permit foreign lawyers to practice in Maldives

Lawyers gathered near the Supreme Court area.

The Maldives Bar Council has announced that it will be permitting foreign lawyers to practice in the Maldives under a regulation published today. 

The Legal Profession Act passed recently, permits foreign lawyers to practice in the Maldives under a special regulation formulated by the Bar Council. Under the regulation, foreign lawyers will be permitted to take part in legal cases in Maldivian courts, through a registered law firm, legal practice or in collaboration with Prosecutor General’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office.

The regulation made public today by the Bar Council, states that foreign lawyers should provide information related to them and the case they are working on to the Bar Council before they can be permitted to practice. The regulatory body will also be seeking relevant documents if necessary, which are to be provided upon request. 

Under the regulation only lawyers with a clean criminal record and have a valid license will be permitted to practice. 

If the case they are working on is at an appeal court, then the lawyer applying must have a valid license of more than three years and have an appeal court license to practice in the original jurisdiction of the lawyer. If the matter is at the Supreme Court, then the lawyer must have a five-year valid license. 

Reservations by judges regarding language factors will also be taken into account and the preferred language for the applying lawyers will also be clarified before they can be permitted to practice. A special fee will also be charged from the lawyer for the permit. 

MVR 2,000 will be charged for permits to practice at lower courts, while MVR 5,000 will be charged to practice at the High Court. MVR 10,000 will be charged for practice at the Supreme Court. 

The Bar Council is to make a decision on granting the permit for practice by foreign lawyers within seven days after taking into account the requirements. Complaints regarding the decision by the Bar Council can also be submitted within 30 days to the appeal committee of the Council.