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City of Banjul
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

D100,000 fine awaits any non-lawyer who prepares a power of attorney

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By Bruce Asemota

The high court in Banjul presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh has declared that any person other than a legal practitioner who prepares a power of an attorney commits an offence liable to a fine of D100,000 on conviction.
Justice Jaiteh made this declaration yesterday in a ruling premised on an objection raised by one of the defence counsel representing one of the defendants in a civil suit in which one Santang Madi Konteh sought to tender his power of attorney in the suit.
Konteh’s power of attorney was purportedly sworn to by the plaintiff, Ebrima Krubally, before one Jerreh Cham, a commissioner for oaths.
In his ruling, Justice Jaiteh cited Section 45(1) of the Legal Practitioners Act, 2016 and explained that it is only a legal practitioner who is authorised by law to prepare legal documents such as a power of attorney.
He further cited Section 45(2) and explained that a person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of D100,000.
Justice Jaiteh said rules of court are meant to be obeyed and the court has duty to discourage their violations.
He further said that the power of attorney sought to be tendered before the court was not prepared by a legal practitioner but by a commissioner of oaths who is not a legal practitioner, thus rendering the power of attorney inadmissible and marked rejected.
Justice Jaiteh asserted that a person who has enforceable rights may sue on his or her own behalf.
He pointed out that Konteh sued Alagie Njie and Saikou YS Yabou in his capacity as attorney of Ebrima Krubally in whom rights vests.
The trial judge pointed out that Konteh must prove to the court that he is indeed authorised to sue on Krubally’s behalf.
Justice Jaiteh revealed that since the power of attorney is rejected, the suit is not maintainable as a consequence of the failure of the power of attorney because Konteh is not proper before the court.
Justice Jaiteh struck out the suit noting that Santang Madi Konteh does not have the necessary power to bring this action before the court.

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