16 Sep 2009

Fiji interim Government names official to scrutinise the legal profession

7:23 pm on 16 September 2009

The Fiji interim regime has named a former High Court Judge, John Connors, as its first Independent Legal Services Commissioner.

His role will be to investigate complaints against lawyers - a task previously performed by the Fiji Law Society.

Under the regime's Legal Practitioner's Decree brought in in May, the Law Society was made voluntary and also lost its power to issue practising certificates.

The interim Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says with the Commissioner's appointment, members of the public with complaints against lawyers should first approach the Chief Registrar.

He says the Chief Registrar will investigate and make an initial determination but complainants also have the option of approaching the Commissioner.

The acting Chief Registrar, Ana Rokomokoti, says currently there are 348 outstanding complaints against lawyers in Fiji, ranging from unprofessional conduct to allegations of abuse of trust funds and fraud.