|Check status of lawyers first, public urged|
|Monday, 27 August 2012 08:24am|
©The Star (Used by permission)
by SHAILA KOSHY
KUALA LUMPUR: The public should check not just whether the lawyer they wish to hire has been called to the Bar but also whether they have a valid Practising Certificate (PC).
Malaysian Bar vice-president Chris Leong urged the public to call the Bar Council to check both details before appointing a lawyer.
He said this when asked the reason for the council's recent posting on the Bar website a list of names of 48 lawyers from the various state Bars in the peninsula who did have a PC but no longer have it.
The biggest number of offenders were from the Kuala Lumpur Bar (20) and Selangor Bar (13), followed by Johor Bar (5) and Kedah Bar (4) and one each in the Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan, Penang, Pahang and Malacca Bars.
Leong said the list was to alert the public of lawyers who previously had a PC but no longer did.
“The public should only deal with those with a PC because otherwise, the advice or representation will be illegal and void and there is no insurance protection for negligence and no sanction for misconduct.”
He said the effect would be the same as if someone was fraudulently posing as a lawyer.
“For example, if a lawyer without a PC has represented a client who pleaded guilty, the plea could be set aside.
“Or say your lawyer wrongly advised you in signing an S&P you could sue and his insurance would pay out but only if he has a valid PC. But whether the S&P is invalidated will depend on the facts of the case.”
Despite reminders from the council to renew their PC, he said, the most common reason given was that they had forgotten.
“Usually it is because they can't get their accounts in order, they must have an accountant's report stating the clients' accounts are in order before they can renew their PC.”
He added that many without a PC were those who had ceased practice but had not bothered to file a notice of cessation of practice to the council.
Of the 100 members the council had initiated action against in April, 75 had actually ceased practice.
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