Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they have found that some private legal practitioners to whom work was outsourced by the Legal Aid Commission were charging exorbitant rates, a lot of them were not turning up to court and also compromised in the manner in which they dealt with the clients.
Sayed-Khaiyum revealed this in parliament while responding to SODELPA MP, Niko Nawaikula’s question who had said that the expansion of the Legal Aid Commission is linked to the closure of many small time legal private practitioners.
Nawaikula says Fiji now has three law schools and many solicitors are without work.
He says at times the Legal Aid Commission cannot act for clients and in some of these instances, these private legal practitioners can be hired.
In response, Sayed-Khaiyum told parliament that unfortunately this has not worked in the past.
Sayed-Khaiyum says the Legal Aid Commission handled 8,702 family law matters in 2018, 4,420 criminal matters and 13, 603 civil matters.
There are 111 lawyer positions within the Legal Aid Commission.