The Honourable Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Umu-Hawa Tejan-Jalloh on Friday 29th October 2010 appealed to the country’s latest crop of Barristers to comport themselves as persons truly deserving of the title of ‘learned’ as expected of practitioners of their profession.
Hon. Haja Tejan-Jalloh made this statement during the Call-to-the-Bar Ceremony of the Sierra Leone Law school at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown.
The Chief Justice who doubles as Chair of the Council of Legal Education, said she has repeatedly appealed for Law School graduands to act in a manner that will earn them respect from the public and their colleagues but lamented that “it would appear that my appeals have been falling on deaf ears”.
She revealed that she was inundated with complaints about the unsavoury actions of lawyers engaging in unfortunate practices of duping of clients and levying exorbitant charges on the poor and gullible public. She expressed dismay over such “hurry to get rich” and appealed to the new lawyers not to deceive the public.
She expressed amazement to learn that even pupil barristers now accept briefs and appear in the Magistrate Courts without proper supervision only to “play to the gallery” whilst insulting their seniors and swaggering in and out of court.
She informed that many people have cast aspersion that the Sierra Leone Law school is now producing lawyers of very low moral and ethical quality that are given bad signals about the profession. She blamed the older lawyers for being responsible for the negative behaviour of the young lawyers while advising that the latter should remain as apprentice for far more than one year periods.
She went on to lambast very senior barristers who behave negatively in the full view of the public in and out of court as well as before apprentices.
“Senior barrister should be the leading and shinning light if our Judiciary is to develop positively,” Tejan-Jalloh urged. Further she advise the General Legal Council of Sierra Leone to ensure that all defaulting barristers are cautioned in their behaviours and dealings with the public.
The ceremony was climaxed by the presentation of certificates by the Honourable Chief Justice to over 50 new Barristers; many of them women.
Other notable personalities at the event included virtually all the country’s Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature and the Principal of Fourah Bay College, Professor Dr. Jonas A.S Redwood-Sawyer who gave a thought-provoking, well-researched speech as the Evening’s Guest Speaker. Professor Redwood-Sawyer, after being eloquently introduced by Lawyer James Fornah Sesay, imparted knowledge on the Internet and the Law which saw the entire house render him a standing ovation at the end.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.