Foreign lawyers allowed to practice in the Maldives

The Bar Council has announced that foreign lawyers will be allowed to practice in the Maldives.

Regulations published by the Bar Council said certain requirements have to be met before a foreign lawyer is permitted to represent a client in a Maldivian court, and that foreign lawyers can only practice in the country for a limited period of time under one permit. Only the Attorney General’s Office, Prosecutor General’s Office and registered lawfirms can request the Bar Council to issue a permit for a foreign lawyer.

According to the new regulations which are now in effect, a written document that states that the presiding judge does not have any objection to the preferred language the lawyer chooses to speak in court, or a document confirming the appointment of an interpretor must be submitted to the court. The Bar Council retains the authority to request for additional documents before issuing permits to foreign lawyers, it also says.

It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that the foreign lawyer he wishes to hire entered the Maldives legally. Only those who do not have a criminal record and have a valid license will be allowed to practice, among other requirements.

If the case tasked to the lawyer is at appeal court, the lawyer applying for the permit must possess a valid license of three years or more, and must have an appeal court license which allows him to practice in that jurisdiction. If the case is at the Supreme Court, the applying lawyer must possess a valid license of more than five years, and must have a license which allows him to practice at the highest court of the jurisdiction. Foreign lawyers can be hired only in the case that technical and capable lawyers for the specific case are not available in the Maldives, or if a limited number of lawyers are available for such cases.