APIA: 20 SEPTEMBER 2012:Cabinet has approved the Lawyers and Legal Practice Bill 2012 for its enactment when Parliament next reconvenes.
The main objective of the Bill is to regulate the legal profession and legal practice.
The legal profession is vital to any legal system and the maintenance of the rule of law. Lawyers have legal, moral and ethical duties to ensure that they maintain their individual and collective professional standards and duties.
The Samoa Law Reform Commission (SLRC) was tasked with reviewing the Law Practitioners Act 1976.
The purposes of the review were to:
· Prepare modern and comprehensive legislation for the management of the legal profession in Samoa;
· Determine and apply appropriate and applicable terminology relating to lawyers;
· Ensure that only properly trained lawyers are entitled to practice law in Samoa;
· Apply and enforce other appropriate requirements relevant to rights of legal practice in Samoa;
· Impose professional and ethical duties on lawyers, and to ensure that monies entrusted to them are managed and expended properly;
· Make arrangements for effective disciplinary process to deal with misconduct and breaches of professional duties.
Based on the review, SLRC drafted a Bill which was presented to members of the Law and Justice Steering Committee and the Secretary of the Law Society, for dissemination to all practising lawyers.
The Attorney General’s Office, after consultations with the Samoa Law Society Sub-Committee and the Samoa Law Reform Commission, redrafted the original Bill based on suggestions and comments submitted in several of these meetings, and a final draft was submitted to Cabinet.