Legal Practitioner (Amendment) Bill, 2023 Stood Referred To NA Business Committee For Committal
By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Legal Practitioner (Amendment) Bill, 2023, has been referred to the National Assembly Business Committee for Committal.
The Bill was moved by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Dawda A. Jallow, for second reading in which the National Assembly Members would debate its general merits and principles.
While moving the motion, the Attorney General highlighted the objects and reasons of the bill.
The Attorney General told members that the Bill seeks to empower the General Legal Council to establish a panel of Disciplinary Committees which shall consist of a judge of the High court, a state Law officer not below the rank of a principal state counsel and a legal practitioner of at least 10 years standing as opposed to what currently exists.
He said the bill also seeks to properly address the issues of professional misconduct of legal practitioners, legal education, legal aid, and Pupillage.
The Attorney General said this would allow for flexibility on the setting of the committee to immediately deal with issues brought before it.
“It is difficult for some members of the society to afford the service of legal practitioners, because of their poor financial condition. Again, society has high hopes for legal practitioners to represent them in various capacities. The profession needs to be well regulated for effective and careful service delivery,” he told the NAMs.
In their deliberations on the bill, Hon. Yahya Sanyang, NAM for Latrikunda Sabiji raised the issue of consultation.
Hon. Sanyang argued that the Ministry of Justice should ensure that the pre-legislative process is consultative, especially for the people who are going to be affected by the law.
Hon. Suwaibou Touray NAM, for Wuli East, said the National Assembly should critically scrutinize the proposed amendments in the bill.
Hon.Touray said all of them know that there are a lot of problems when it comes to legal practitioners in The Gambia.
“And one good thing I like about the proposed amendments is the legal support to the less privileged people. We know there are a lot of poor people in the country who cannot afford the services of a lawyer, So whatever arrangement that is there to help poor people to access justice is welcome” he said.
After the debate on the general merits and principles of the Bill, the Bill automatically stood referred to the National Assembly Business Committee for committal to either a Committee or Committee of the Whole Assembly for scrutiny.