Structure & Function

This Committee performs the very important function of upholding standards of professional conduct of attorneys-at-law and enforcing discipline in the Legal Profession. The members of the Disciplinary Committee may be present and former members of the General Legal Council, persons who hold or who have held high judicial office, attorneys who were members of a former disciplinary body, and attorneys who have been in practice for no less than ten years. There are presently twenty five members of the Disciplinary Committee.

The chairman of the Disciplinary Committee is appointed by the members of the General Legal Council. The members of the Disciplinary Committee serve for a period of three years and are eligible for re-appointment. This Committee sits as a quasi judicial tribunal to hear complaints from “any person alleging himself aggrieved by the conduct of an attorney,” the Registrar of the Supreme Court, and any member of the General Legal Council. The Fourth Schedule to the Act outlines the procedure to be employed by the Committee in hearing complaints and it also states the documentation to be submitted to the Committee on initiating and pursuing a complaint of alleged professional misconduct against an attorney.

The Committee sits in panels of three to hear complaints. At the hearing of a complaint, evidence is taken orally or on affidavit if the need arises. Because the proceedings are quasi judicial, and may have such far reaching consequences for the public and attorneys-at-law, the rules of the laws of evidence are adhered to although not followed as strictly as in a formal court proceeding. In giving judgment the panel hearing the complaint always reduces the reasons for its decision into writing.

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