Govt Should Not Govern Legal Profession

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The Attorney-General (A-G) has advised the Government to reduce its involvement in the Bar Council, calling on the legal fraternity to instead draft a new bill for their profession.

Tommy Thomas said that shortly after taking office, he spoke to the Council’s office bearers to present a Bill to replace the current Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA).

Hari Anggara

“I shall advise the new government that the state’s intimate involvement in the governance of the legal profession is inimical to the independence of the Bar, which is, in turn, a vital pre-condition to true functioning democracy,” he said in his opening address at the International Malaysia Law Conference on Tuesday.

He said the previous government had significantly altered the Advocates and Solicitors Ordinance 1947 into its current form as the LPA.

Thomas called on the Bar Council to quickly draft the Bill, saying there were sufficient legal practitioners in Cabinet who would be happy to pilot the Bill’s passage through Parliament.

“So Mr President of the Malaysian Bar, I am still waiting for a draft new Bill to govern your profession – and you have a free hand in drafting it,” he declared.

Hari Anggara

Asked to comment, Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said the Council had begun work on the issue and would be submitting a draft later this year.

“We totally agree with what the A-G said, and had immediately convened after the meeting to set up a committee to draft the bill,” said Varughese, who co-chairs the Committee to Reform the Legal Profession. – The Star