Parliament OKs bill to empower Bar Council to probe lawyers for misconduct outside work

Parliamentarians pictured during a parliamentary sitting. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

The Parliament has passed the amendment to the Legal Profession Act designed to authorize the Bar Council to investigate lawyers for misconduct outside work.

The bill sponsored by Holhudhoo MP Yunus Ali and a bill submitted by Vilimale’ MP Ahmed Usham to exempt lawyers issued their permit to practice law in 2020 from sitting in the bar exams was passed by the Parliament in accordance with the recommendations of the Judiciary Committee with theunanimous consensus of 58 MPs on Monday afternoon.

Law graduates who completed a training program were issued a special license to practice law in 2020, due to the delay in bar exams.

The Legal Profession Act stipulates that they must take the first bar exam.

However, with the passage of the bill submitted by Usham, they will no longer need to take the bar exam.

Meanwhile, Yunus’ bill will authorize the Bar Council to investigate lawyers for violation of any legal provision, code of conduct, or code of conduct for lawyers, or the standards of the legal profession, rules to uphold the justice system, or anything that may compromise trust in the legal profession.

The bill stipulates that the opportunity to submit complaints over such issues is open to all, and that the Bar Council may also investigate cases at its own initiative – in which case the council can form a three-member panel selected from the ethics committee.

Once the two bills take effect, Bar Council will be required to audit the council’s finances on an annual basis and compile an audit report through a licensed auditor. They will also be required to submit proposed annual budgets to the Finance Ministry in accordance with the Public Finance Regulation.