Fiji Sessional Legislation
LEGAL PRACTITIONERS (AMENDMENT) ACT 1999
ACT NO. 25 OF 1999
TO AMEND THE LEGAL PRACTITIONERS ACT
ENACTED by the Parliament of the Fiji Islands-
Short title and definition
1. -(1) This Act may be cited as the Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Act 1999.
(2) In this Act, "principal Act" means the Legal Practitioners Act 1997 (No. 19 of 1997).
2. Section 2 of the principal Act is amended in the definition of "practitioner" by adding "and includes a person who before the commencement of this Act was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in the Fiji Islands".
Employment of persons struck off or suspended
3. Section 54 of the principal Act is amended by deleting "for" before "the consent" and substituting "with".
Claims by former practitioner
4. Section 66 of the principal Act is amended in subsection (2) by deleting "then" and substituting "than".
Sections 81 and 82 repealed
5. Sections 81 and 82 of the principal Act are repealed and replaced by-
81. (1) There must be established a panel (in this Part called "the Disciplinary Panel") consisting of not less than 13 members of whom-
(a) at least 8 are persons appointed by the Council who have been members of the Society for not less than 5 years; and
(b) at least 5 are persons appointed by the Attorney-General who are neither practitioners nor employees of the Government.
(2) A member of the Disciplinary Panel appointed under subsection (1) is appointed for a term of 2 years and is eligible for reappointment.
(3) A member of the Disciplinary Panel may resign from office by notice to the Secretary at any time.
(4) A member of the Disciplinary Panel may be removed from office at any time by the appointing authority.
(5) Even if the term of a member of the Disciplinary Panel has expired, the member continues to hold office (except in the event of retirement or vacation of office) until his or her successor assumes office in the member's place.
82. (1) The Council must appoint from the Disciplinary Panel a committee to deal with any complaint against a practitioner which has not been resolved by the Council.
(2) A committee appointed under subsection (1) (in this Part called "a disciplinary committee") consists of-
(a) a member of the panel appointed under section 81(1) (a) as Chairperson; and
(b) 2 other members, one being a member of the panel appointed under section 81(1) (a) and one being a member appointed under section 81(1) (b).
(3) It is the function of a disciplinary committee, without unreasonable delay-
(a) to inquire into any charge referred to it of malpractice, professional misconduct or unprofessional conduct or practice on the part of a practitioner;
(b) to inquire into any charge referred to it of misconduct or default in respect of a practitioner's practice by a clerk or servant employed in relation to that practice; and
(c) to make or cause to be made any investigations it considers necessary for the purpose of its hearings.
(4) A disciplinary committee meets at the times and places it determines and, subject to subsection (5), must conduct its business in the manner prescribed by rules made under section 98 or, if no rules are prescribed, as it determines from time to time.
(5) A disciplinary committee is not bound by formal rules of evidence, other than those in this Part relating to witnesses, but must give the practitioner in respect of whom or whose practice the inquiry is called an opportunity to make written submissions and to be heard and must act fairly in relation to the inquiry.".
Role of Society
6. Section 84 of the principal Act is amended by-
(a) deleting "Society" wherever it occurs and substituting "Council";
(b) repealing paragraph (d) and substituting-
"appoint a committee in accordance with section 82(1) to determine the matter in question"; and
(c) deleting the heading and substituting "Role of Council".
Role of Attorney General
7. Section 86 of the principal Act is amended in subsection (2) by-
(a) deleting Society and substituting "Council" where it first appears; and
(b) deleting "Committee for determination" at the end of paragraph (b) and substituting "Council to appoint a disciplinary committee in accordance with section 82(1) to determine the matter".
8. Section 120 of the principal Act is amended-
(a) by numbering the existing section as subsection (1);
(b) by adding the following new subsections-
"(2) A person who was a barrister and solicitor at the commencement of this Act is deemed to have been admitted as a practitioner under this Act.
(3) Any reference to a barrister and solicitor in any written law is to be construed as a reference to a person who is admitted as a practitioner under this Act.".
9. The Schedule is amended-
(a) by deleting "102(8)" in the heading and substituting "101(8)";
(b) by deleting "secutity" in the first line of paragraph 1.06 and substituting "security".
10. The principal Act is amended-
(a) by deleting "the Committee" wherever it first occurs and substituting "a disciplinary committee"; and
(b) by deleting "the Committee" wherever it further occurs and substituting "the committee",
in subsection (4)(b) of section 85; subsections (1), (2) and (3) of section 87; subsections (1), (2) and (3) of section 88; section 90; subsections (1) and (2) of section 91; section 92; subsections (1), (2), (4) and (5) of section 93; section 94; section 95; section 96; subsections (1) and (2) of section 97; section 98; section 99; and subsection (1) of section 100.
Passed by the House of Representatives this 18th day of August 1999.
Passed by the Senate this 10th day of September 1999.