The legal practitioners in Fiji have been equipped with the knowledge to enhance their legal ethics and etiquette competency skills through a workshop which was conducted by Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan. The two day workshop organised by the Judicial Department was held at Holiday Inn in Suva earlier this week.
These compulsory workshops are held twice a year and are intended to guide and empower the new practitioners before they enter their profession. It enables them to understand the dynamics of ethical standards of lawyers, the Legal Practitioners Act and cases already heard by the Independent legal Commission, the role of lawyers in providing access to justice, the rule of law and the legal profession, and relationships with both Bar and Bench.
The Chief Registrar issues practicing certificates for all legal practitioners each year under the Legal Practitioners Act. Each new practitioner who has either already been admitted to practice, or is about to be admitted, and who applies for a practicing certificate, is required to attend the two days legal ethics and etiquette workshop organised through the Legal Practitioners’ Unit, before the practicing certificates are issued.
A mock trial scenario conducted by the Chief Justice is designed to help the practitioners to advocate for their clients in an objective, non-political manner, to stand up to inappropriate conduct from counsel and members of the Bench, and to learn to handle vulnerable witnesses in accordance with their duty to their clients, but without any retraumatization.
These legal ethics workshops have now been held since 2010 and it is hailed as being successful for professional development of the legal practitioners in Fiji. Meanwhile, Ambassador Khan will also be conducting a Judicial Training later next week.