Lawyers dumbfounded by BASL silence

  • 2 May 2007 13:22:02 GMT

    alwaysalion

    There are avenues for dissatisfied clients to complain against corrupt lawyers resorting to unprofessional conduct. They can complain directly to the BASL or to the Supreme Court which is the enrolling authority for all lawyers in SL.

    There have been many instances where due to people sending petitions to the BASL and Supreme Court, after due inquiry, lawyers have been disenrolled/struck off the register or suspended from practice due to conduct unbecoming of lawyers.ie: forging deeds, misappropriating clients` money, professional negligence etc etc.

    Unfortunately in SL such incidents go un-noticed to the general public as the media does not seem very interested in publishing or broadcasting/telecasting such news items for reasons better known to the media.

    If the people remain silent being the victims of unscrupulous lawyers there is no one to blame except themselves for not making use of the opportunities available to redress the issues.

    As in all instances in SL even members of the legal profession are divided amongst themselves within the profession. Apart from the BASL which is now considered the principal body in the legal profession, there is the Law Society which is the association of Advocates (eventhough all lawyers after 1974 are Attorneys-at-Law and there is no distinction between Advocates and Proctors). There is also the SLFP Lawyers Association which undoubtedly would remain silent on any attacks resolutions etc etc being brought against the government. So with divisions within the profession, issuing unanimous statements would be posing a problem.

    When the BASL was to pass a resolution against CJ Sarath Silva a section of the BASL with PA inclinations opposed it to such magnitude with the backing of the CJ that the matter was dropped. A main reason was professional victimisation opposing lawyers faced appearing before the CJ.

    So it may be the same or similar circumstance concerning issuing a statement or resolution about the human rights violations too as evidently MR ( an Attorney-at-Law himself ) also has downplayed the issue saying it`s` not that serious.

    My guess is that these `dissappointed lawyers` may or could be with an anti-PA inclination. During 1988-1991 when even lawyers were abducted and killed, lawyers and judges were threatened with death, I do not think ( though I may be wrong) there were any such resolutions passed by the BASL at that time.

  • 2 May 2007 13:48:47 GMT

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