By Lamin Cham
The president of the Gambia Bar Association Salieu Taal, has lamented the rise in the number of complaints against lawyers and urged members to comport themselves in accordance with ethical and professional standards. Speaking at the opening of the new legal year on Sunday Mr Taal warned: “In the discharge of our noble role and responsibilities, we are bound by strict professional and ethical code of conduct. As we grow as a bar, it is increasing challenging to maintain the professional and ethical standards in the profession.”
Mr Taal added that the bar must ensure that the members of the legal profession who violate the code of professional conduct are appropriately reprimanded.
“To this end, the General Legal Council, which is the regulatory body that handles disciplinary matters of lawyers, has proposed legislative changes to the Legal Practitioners Act to enable the council to handle and resolve complaints against lawyers more efficiently and expeditiously and as a bar, we will be reviewing and strengthening our constitution to enable us to better regulate the conduct of our members,” he said.
Mr Taal also used the occasion to congratulate the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission for completing its report despite challenges and constraints. “I equally commend the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Dawda Jallow, for ensuring the report was distributed to all the primary stakeholders and made available online. The ultimate credit goes to the government of President Adama for establishing the TRRC and availing the funds to support the process. We are happy to note that the government has received support to prepare a white paper,” he said.
The bar president reminded the audience which include President Adama Barrow that the power to implement the TRRC recommendations is vested in the president as the head of the executive through the whitepaper and advised the government to ensure that those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious human rights violations and abuses during the 22 years of the previous regime are held accountable and prosecuted preferably in The Gambia.
“The TRRC has unearthed the truth and now the next step is to ensure justice is achieved for the victims and the entire Gambian population. Implementation of the TRRC recommendations will finally close the chapter on the era of impunity. It is our collective duty to ensure that Never Again is not merely a slogan but a reality in a new Gambia,” Mr Taal concluded.