The Legal Practitioners (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules, 2005
Supplement to the Sierra Leone Gazette Vol. CXKXY./I, No. 39 dated 2 ht July, 2005
The Legal Practitioners (Disciplinary Proceeding) Rules, 2005
Arrangement of Rules
PART II—PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATIONS
- Committee's power of investigation.
- Offences against discipline.
- Preliminary determination.
- Committee may require explanation.
PART III-FILING OF CHARGES
6. Formulation of charges.
7. Appearance of legal practitioner before Committee.
8. Answer to charges.
PART IV—HEARING BY COMMITTEE
- Adjournment of hearing.
- Hearing in the absence of accused.
- Power to summon witnesses, etc.
- Evidence on oath or affirmation.
- Offence of perjury.
- Record of proceedings.
- Appeal as of right.
PART V—MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
17. Expenses of witnesses.
18. Service of witness summonses.
Statutory Instrument No. 10 of 2005
Published 21st July, 2005
The Legal Practitioners Act, 200 (Act No. 15 of 2000)
The Legal Practitioners (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules, 2005
In exercise of the powers conferred upon it by section 32 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 2000, the General Legal Council hereby makes the following Rules:–
1.In these Rules, unless the context otherwise requires:–
“Committee” means the Disciplinary Committee referred to in section 6 of the Act;
“complaint” includes a disciplinary matter referred to ill paragraph (a) of subrule (1) of rule 2;
“Council” means the General Legal Council established by section 2 of the Act;
“offence against discipline” means an offence referred to in rule 3.
2. (1)The Committee may investigate any-
(a) disciplinary matter referred to it by the Council under paragraph (e) of subsection (2) of section 4 of the Act; or
(b) complaint sent to it by a complainant under subsection (1) of section 31 of the Act.
(2) Pursuant to subsection (2) of section 31 of the Act, every complaint shall be supported by an affidavit setting out the facts on which the complaint is based.
3.Subject to these Rules, a legal practitioner commits an offence against discipline, if he commits one or more of the acts of unprofessional, dishonourable or unworthy conduct set out in section 38 of the Act.
4.Where a complaint is received from which it appears to the Committee that a legal practitioner may have committed an offence against discipline, the matter shall be investigated by the Committee as soon as practicable in order to determine whether to hold an inquiry into the complaint.
5.For the purposes of rule 4, the Committee shall, as soon as practicable, inform the legal practitioner in writing of the complaint and give him a written notice-
(a) informing him that he is not obliged to say anything concerning the matter, but that he may, if he so desires, make a written or oral statement concerning the matter to the Committee within fourteen days;
(b) warning him that if he makes such a statement, it may also be used in any subsequent disciplinary proceedings; and
(c) of any account or statement of a witness concerning the complaint, including the affidavit referred to in sub rule (2) of rule 2.
PART III–FILING OF CHARGES
6.The Committee, after considering the response of the legal practitioner under rule 5, shall decide whether the legal practitioner investigated shall be charged with an offence and, if so, it shall as soon as practicable and subject to subsection (5) of section 31 of the Act, cause to be formulated by the Attorney-General the offence with which the legal practitioner is charged, including such particulars as will leave the legal practitioner in no doubt as to the precise nature of the offence against discipline involved.
7.Pursuant to rule 6, the Committee shall invite the legal practitioner to appear before the Committee in order to defend the charge made against him and he shall, for that purpose be supplied with copies of-
(a) the invitation to appear before the Committee;
(b) any written statement he may have made under rule 5 or of an account of any oral statement so made;
(c) the complaint on which the charge is founded Of so much thereof as relates to the legal practitioner notwithstanding that anything therein may be confidential, including the affidavit under subrule (2) of rule 2;
(d) any statement relating to the charge made by any witness to be called in support of the charge, together with the name and address of such witness; and
(e) any statement relating to the charge made by any person, other than a witness to be called in support of the charge, to the Committee or to anybody, on behalf of the legal practitioner, together with the person's name and address.
8. (1)In the invitation under rule 7, the legal practitioner shall be required to state in writing-
(a) whether or not he admits the charge; and
(b) the names and addresses of any witnesses to relevant facts whose attendance at the hearing of the case he wishes the Committee to take steps to secure.
(2)Where the legal practitioner admits the charge, the Committee may dispense with the hearing of the case and shall invite the legal practitioner to appear before it to address it before it recommends to the Council the disciplinary measure to be taken under section 36 of the Act.
(3)If the legal practitioner does not admit the charge, the hearing shall proceed as though he denied the charge.
(4)The case against the legal practitioner shall be presented by a counsel appointed by the Attorney-General under subsections (5) and (6) of section 31 of the Act.
PART IV–HEARING BY COMMITTEE
9. (1)The Committee may hear such witnesses and receive such documentary evidence as, in its opinion, may assist the Committee in determining the proof or otherwise of the charge made against the legal practitioner.
(2)The standard of proof at any hearing under these Rules shall be proof beyond reasonable doubt.
(3)Before the case against the legal practitioner is presented, the legal practitioner may submit that the facts alleged in the charge are not such as to constitute the offence with which he is charged and the Committee, if it upholds that submission, shall dismiss the charge to which the submission relates.
(4)The legal practitioner may conduct his defence either in person or by a counsel of his own choice.
10.The hearing of a case may be adjourned from time to time as the circumstances of the case may require.
11.If the legal practitioner does not attend the hearing of the Hearing of the case, the hearing may be proceeded with and in concluded in his absence:
Provided that if good reason is given to the Committee by or on behalf of the legal practitioner why he is unable to attend, the hearing may be adjourned.
12. (1)The Committee may, pursuant to subsection (1) of section 33 of the Act, on its own motion or on the application of any person, issue a summons under the hand of the Chairman directing the person therein named to attend at the time and place therein mentioned to give evidence or to produce the documents therein specified or to do both.
(2) The summons under subrule (1) shall be in the form set out in the Fourth Schedule to the Act or to the like effect.
(3) Any disobedience to the summons is punishable in accordance with subsection (3) of section 33 of the Act.
13.The Committee shall require any witness appearing before the Committee to give his evidence on oath or affirmation and the Chairman of the meeting is hereby empowered to administer oaths for that purpose.
14.Any person who wilfully gives false evidence on oath before the Committee during the course of a hearing under these Rules or who wilfully makes a false statement in an affidavit sworn for the purposes of any such hearing commits the offence of perjury.
15.An accurate' record of the proceedings at the hearing of the case shall be taken and shall form part of the findings and recommendations of the Committee to the Council referred to in subsection (4) of section 36 of the Act.
16. (1)An appeal under section 37 of the Act against any decision of the Council shall be as of right.
(2)For the purposes of any appeal, the appellant shall be entitled to transcripts or copies of the findings and recommendations of the Committee for a fee to be determined by the Council.
PART V-MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
17. (1)The Committee may allow any witness who has appeared at a hearing such expenses as it may think fit, not exceeding the sum which could be allowed to such witness at a trial under the high Court Rules for the time being in force.
(2)Orders for the payment of witnesses shall be made as nearly as may be as orders for the payment of witness in the High Court.
18.The Sheriff and every Deputy Sheriff shall, at the request of the Chairman of the Committee, detail bailiffs or other officers for the serving of summonses on witnesses under rule 12.
Made this 14th day of June, 2005.
BERTHAN MACAULAY .TNR,
Chairman, General Legal Council.
Printed and Published by the Government Printing Department, Sierra Leone
Gazette No. 39 of 21st July, 2005.