Rocky's Bru: A non–explanatory explanation
We refer to the Bar Council’s decision to reject the application of Tun Salleh Abas to be a consultant of a law firm.
We wish to highlight that Tun Salleh Abas as a practising lawyer enjoys the same rights and privileges without differentiation whether as a consultant or a partner. In connection therewith, there is no issue of any adverse consequence on one's right to livelihood.
The purpose of the present Rule 60 of the Legal Profession (Practice and
Etiquette) Rules, 1978 is to create a separate category of lawyers in
recognition of their number of years of experience at the Malaysian Bar. The
eligibility for qualification as a consultant is either at least 20 years of
active practice at the Malaysian Bar or at least 20 years of experience,
comprising active practice of at least 10 years at the Malaysian Bar and service
as a Judge or a member of the Judicial and Legal Service. The present Rule 60 is
more liberal than its original provision.
Unfortunately, Tun Salleh Abas does not qualify under the present Rule 60 because he has been in active practice at the Malaysian Bar for less than 10 years. Tun Salleh Abas will qualify to be a consultant under Rule 60 on 24 March 2009. The Bar Council is proposing to liberalise Rule 60 further.
Rule 62 which empowers the Bar Council with the written approval of the Attorney General, to waive any of the rules within the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules, 1978, cannot be applied to any specific individual lawyer, and if applied to waive any rule it must be applied to all.
In respect of the comments associating this issue with that of the 1988 Judicial Crisis, the Bar Council has always spoken against the injustice caused by the 1988 Judicial Crisis. The Report of the Panel of Eminent Persons to Review the 1988 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia and its promotion of the establishment of the Judicial Appointments Commission are a reflection of its continuous efforts to right the wrong of that era.
Lim Chee Wee
24 October 2008