Supreme Court Judge Mata Tuatagaloa has asked whether the Samoa Law Society (SLS) can “show compassion” to a lawyer whose practicing license has been suspended.
Pa’u Mulitalo had his practicing license suspended seven months ago for allegedly breaching the Lawyers and Legal Practitioners Act. But he has challenged the decision by the society in Court.
Appearing before the Court recently, the society’s lawyer Sala Josephine Stowers advised that the SLS has two requirements—which Pa’u will need to meet—in order to get a restricted practicing license. The first requirement is that the appellant should provide proof that he is able to work for a law firm. However, the second requirement was not divulged during the Court proceeding and remains unclear.
However, Pa’u submitted that there is a conflict of interest on the part of the society’s lawyer Sala.
Justice Tuatagaloa then told Pa’u that the society has asked the suspended lawyer to present the information needed in order for them to consider his application for a restricted practicing license.
When the Judge asked Sala whether the delay by the society is due to the lack of the required information, Sala agreed and advised that the appellant is yet to provide the information required.
“If Mulitalo is finding difficulty to provide that information, someone to supervise him or a firm to work for. How else will the Samoa Law Society be handing this case, does the Samoa Law Society have compassion for this member?
“He is seeking a restricted license to practice and just so happen that he cannot find a law firm that can employ him. Are there any conditions for such cases?” the Judge added.
Justice Tuatagaloa told Sala that he should go back to the committee of the Samoa Law Society and ask them to reconsider and also urged Mulitalo to consider providing the required information sought.
“The committee to look still waiting for you to provide the information they are seeking for, the process is still there and meanwhile you should consider the information they are asking for,” she said.
The Judge reserved her decision on the matter and will hand down a ruling at a later date.