CHAPTER 111
LEGAL PRACTITIONERS ACT

Arrangement of Sections

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

PART II

ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW

3. Admission of attorney-at-law.

4. Roll of attorneys-at-law.

5. Qualifications for admission as an attorney-at-law.

6. Qualifications to practice as an attorney-at-law.

6A. Legal practitioner's licence.

7. Attorney-at-law subject to supervision of Supreme Court.

8. Acts which an attorney-at-law may perform.

9. Acts which an attorney-at-law may not perform.

10. Suspension or removal of attorney-at-law from the roll.

11. Reinstatement of an attorney-at-law.

PART III

OTHERS WHO MAY PLEAD IN COURT ETC

12. Supreme Court may allow other persons to appear before court etc.

13. Attorney-General and other law officers may practice before court etc.

13A. Authorisation to provide legal advice.

PART IV

PUPILAGE AND CLERKSHIP

14. Pupil.

15. Clerk.

16. Pupil or clerk acts on behalf of attorney-at-law.

17. Supervisory jurisdiction of Supreme Court over pupil or clerk.

PART V

MISCELLANEOUS

18. Committee of inquiry.

19. Immunity.

20. Examination Board.

21. Offences.

22. Regulations.

23. Repeal of Caps 83 [1971 Ed], 84 [1971 Ed] and 86 [1971 Ed].

24. Transitional provision.

SCHEDULE

4 of 1990,

4 of 1994,

13 of 1995,

17 of 1996,

18 of 2013.

[Date of commencement: 1st September 1994]

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Legal Practitioners Act.

2. Interpretation.

In this Act—

"approved chambers" means—

(a) the chambers of an attorney-at-law of not less than five years standing and practicing in Seychelles approved by the Chief Justice for the purposes of this Act;

(b) the Department of Legal Affairs;

"attorney-at-law" means a person admitted as such under section 3;

"banker" means any person carrying on a banking business;

"banker's book" means any book or ledger used in or in connection with the banking business of a banker and includes any device on which information relating to banking business is stored, recorded or kept and any computer data bank kept by a banker in connection with his banking business;

"clerk" means an articled clerk serving a clerkship in an approved chambers;

"examination board" means the examination board referred to in section 20;

"foreign law" means the law of a country or jurisdiction other than that of Seychelles;

[Ins by s 2(a)(i) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f. 6 January 2014.]

"legal practitioner's licence" means a licence issued under section 6A;

[Ins by s 2(a)(i) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f. 6 January 2014.]

"Minister" means the Minister responsible for legal affairs;

[Ins by s 2(a)(i) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f. 6 January 2014.]

"pupil" means a person serving as a pupil in an approved chambers;

"pupil master" means—

(a) an attorney-at-law of an approved chambers designated as such under this Act;

(b) where the approved chambers is the Department of Legal Affairs, the Attorney-General;

[Ins by s 2(a)(ii) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f. 6 January 2014.]

"Registrar" means the Registrar of the Supreme Court;

"roll" means the roll of attorney-at-law under section 4;

"Seychelles corporate and finance law" means the laws set out in the First Schedule.

[Ins by s 2(a)(iii) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f. 6 January 2014.]

PART II

ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW

3. Admission of attorney-at-law.

(1) The Supreme Court may, in accordance with the rules prescribed by the Chief Justice, admit as an attorney-at-law a person who is qualified for admission as such under this Act.

(2) Where the Supreme Court refuses to admit a person as an attorney-at-law the Supreme Court shall, if required to do so by the applicant, give reasons for so refusing.

(3) Where the Supreme Court has refused an application for admission as an attorney-at-law, it shall not consider another application for admission by the same person within 12 months from the date of refusal of the application.

4. Roll of attorneys-at-law.

The Registrar shall—

(a) keep a roll of all attorneys-at-law admitted by the Supreme Court;

(b) upon the Supreme Court making an order admitting a person as an attorney-at-law, enter the name and other prescribed particulars of that person on the roll;

(c) issue to the person admitted as an attorney-at-law a certificate under the seal of the Supreme Court certifying the admission and enrolment of the person as an attorney-at-law.

5. Qualifications for admission as an attorney-at-law.

(1) A person shall not be admitted as an attorney-at-law—

(a) unless he—

(i) has been called to and stands enrolled or registered at the Bar in a country or jurisdiction designated by the Minister after consultation with the Chief Justice and the Bar Association of Seychelles;

(ii) has been admitted to practice and stands enrolled or registered as an advocate, attorney-at-law or solicitor in a country or jurisdiction designated by the Minister after consultation with the Chief Justice and the Bar Association of Seychelles;

(iii) has been admitted to practice and stands enrolled or registered in a country or jurisdiction designated by the Minister after consultation with the Chief Justice and the Bar Association of Seychelles as a person holding a professional status equivalent to an attorney-at-law in Seychelles;

(iv) holds a degree in law, of a level prescribed by the Minister, awarded by an institution designated by the Minister after consultation with the Chief Justice and the Bar Association of Seychelles and has successfully completed such professional or vocational examination or training as the Minister may, after consultation with the Chief Justice and the Bar Association of Seychelles, by regulations prescribe; or

(v) has passed the admission examination prescribed under section 20;

[S 5(1)(a)(v) rep and subs by s 2(b)(i)(A) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f. 6 January 2014.]

(b) subject to subsection (3), (4) and (5), unless he has, after having been called to the Bar or admitted to practice, or completed the professional or vocational examination or training, or passed the final examination, as provided under paragraph (a), served as a pupil in an approved chambers or as Registrar of the Supreme Court for an aggregate period of at least two years;

[S 5(1)(b) am by s 2(b)(i)(B) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f.
6 January 2014.]

(c) subject to subsection (2), unless he has paid the prescribed fee and given security for the amount and in the manner prescribed under this Act;

(d) if at the time of his application for admission he is an undischarged bankrupt or has been convicted of a criminal offence of such a nature that in the opinion of the Supreme Court his admission is undesirable;

(e) if the Supreme Court is of the opinion that he is not a fit and proper person to be admitted as an attorney-at-law.

(2) Where the person who has applied to be admitted as an attorney-at-law is a notary and the Supreme Court is satisfied that the security furnished by him as a notary is still valid and the amount of the security is not less than that prescribed under this Act, the person shall be deemed to have furnished security under subsection(1)(c).

(3) Subject to subsection (4), where the Supreme Court is satisfied that a person who is eligible for admission under subsection (1)(a)(i), (ii) and (iii) has at least five years experience at the bar, or as an advocate, attorney-at-law or solicitor in a country or jurisdiction other than Seychelles as designated by the Minister, it may exempt the person from the requirement to serve as a pupil in an approved chambers for an aggregate period of at least two years.

[S 5(3) ins by s 2(b)(ii) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f.
6 January 2014.]

(4) A person who is exempted from the requirement to serve as a pupil in an approved chamber for an aggregate period of two years under subsection (3) shall only provide legal services in relation to—

(a) a foreign law; or

(b) Seychelles corporate and finance law.

[S 5(4) ins by s 2(b)(ii) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f.
6 January 2014.]

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4), legal services means providing assistance and tendering legal advice to clients in relation to a foreign law or Seychelles corporate and finance law.

[S 5(5) ins by s 2(b)(ii) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f.
6 January 2014.]

(6) Notwithstanding subsection (5), a person who is exempted under subsection (3) may tender legal advice on the laws of Seychelles other than a Seychelles corporate and finance law if the advice is—

(i) incidental to the provision of legal services in relation to a foreign law or a Seychelles corporate and finance law; and

(ii) expressly based on the advice given on the Seychelles law by an attorney-at-law who is not subject to subsection (4).

[S 5(6) ins by s 2(b)(ii) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f.
6 January 2014.]

6. Qualifications to practice as an attorney-at-law.

Subject to this Act, a person shall not practice or hold himself out as, represent himself to be, use such term in describing himself so as to suggest that he is or is qualified to perform any of the function of or permit his name to be used so as to suggest that he is or is qualified to perform any of the function of, an attorney-at-law unless—

(a) his name is entered on the roll;

(b) he has not been suspended from practice under this Act;

(c) he has not been disbarred, removed from the roll or register referred to under section 5 or suspended from practice, in any country or jurisdiction outside Seychelles by reason of any misconduct, malpractice or crime;

(d) he or she holds a legal practitioner's licence.

[S 6(d) rep and subs by s 2(c)(i) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f.
6 January 2014.]

6A. *Legal practitioner's licence.

(1) Application for a legal practitioner's licence or for the renewal of a legal practitioner's licence shall be made to the Registrar in the prescribed form and shall be accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(2) The holder of a legal practitioner's licence shall display the licence in a conspicuous place at his or her principal place of business.

(3) The Registrar shall keep or cause to be kept a register of legal practitioner's licence in the prescribed form which shall be open to public inspection.

(4) —

(a) A legal practitioner's licence may be subject to such terms and conditions as the Registrar may specify in the licence.

(b) The Registrar may, at any time by giving the licence holder written notice, alter or waive any, or impose additional licence conditions as the Registrar deems fit.

(c) Without limiting the generality of paragraphs (a) and (b), the Registrar may impose conditions on a legal practitioner's licence as may be required under this Act.

(5) In addition to any condition which the Registrar may impose, a licence issued to a person referred to in section 5(3) shall be subject to the condition that the person is only entitled to provide the legal services referred to in section 5(5) in relation to a foreign law or Seychelles corporate and finance law.

(6) If an attorney-at-law—

(a) contravenes this Act or any regulations made thereunder or any directions issued by the Registrar or the Supreme Court;

(b) breaches the code of conduct, and despite written warning from the Registrar, fails to remedy such breach to the satisfaction of the Registrar;

(c) is unable to meet his or her debts and liabilities;

(d) carries on business in a manner that is prejudicial to the public interest or to the interests of his or her clients;

(e) contravenes any conditions of his or her licence;

(f) ceases to carry on business;

(g) furnishes false or misleading information or documents to the Registrar or to the Chief Justice; or

(h) is convicted of an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of at least 2 years,

the Registrar may suspend his or her licence for such period as the Registrar may determine or revoke or refuse to renew his or her licence.

(7) Where the Registrar suspends, revokes or refuses to renew a legal practitioner's licence, the Registrar shall immediately notify the holder of the licence in writing.

(8) An attorney-at-law whose licence has been suspended or revoked or whose application for renewal of licence has been refused may appeal to the Supreme Court within 30 days of notification of the decision of the Registrar.

(9) A person whose licence has been suspended or revoked shall immediately cease to provide legal services.

[S 6A ins by s 2(c)(ii) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f.
6 January 2014.]

[Note: There is no section heading to s 6A in the Gazette; the above heading has been inserted in this version for ease of reference only.]

7. Attorney-at-law subject to supervision of Supreme court.

(1) An attorney-at-law is an officer of the court and is subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

(2) The Chief Justice may, subject to this Act, prescribe rules for the purpose of the exercise of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under subsection (1).

8. Acts which an attorney-at-law may perform.

Subject to section 5(4), (5) and (6) and section 6, an attorney-at-law is entitled to—

[S 8 am by s 2(d) of Act 18 of 2013 w.e.f. 6 January 2014.]

(a) assist and advise clients;

(b) appear, plead or represent a person in every court, tribunal or other institution established by law for the administration of justice where the person has a right to be heard and be represented by legal practitioner; or

(c) appear and represent a person who has a right to be heard and be represented by legal practitioner before any other person or tribunal exercising quasi-judicial functions.

9. Acts which an attorney-at-law may not perform.

(1) An attorney-at-law shall not directly or indirectly through another person—

(a) acquire an interest in any matter in respect of which he gives his services as an attorney-at-law;

(b) invest in his own name or for his own benefit any sum of money which he may have received for or on behalf of a client;

(c) receive or keep any sum of money in his capacity as an attorney-at-law on condition that he pays the interest on the sum;

(d) make use, at any time or for any period, of any sum of money or security which may have been entrusted to him for any purpose whatsoever, other than the purpose for which the sum of money or security was originally entrusted to him;

(e) cause any note or receipt to be signed in blank;

(f) use any information received by him or which came to his knowledge in confidence in his capacity as an attorney-at-law.

(2) An attorney-at-law shall not take on a person as a pupil or clerk in his chambers unless—

(a) his chambers is an approved chambers;

(b) he has complied with the provisions of this Act regulating the taking of a person as a pupil or clerk;

(c) he has satisfied himself that the person is qualified to read as a pupil or clerk and has complied with the provisions of this Act regulating pupilage and clerkship.

10. Suspension or removal of attorney-at-law from the roll.

(1) Subject to subsection (4), the Supreme Court may, in accordance with the rules prescribed by the Chief Justice—

(a) suspend from practice or remove from the roll an attorney-at-law—

(i) who is guilty of any malpractice or misconduct, or any offence under a written law, which in the opinion of the Supreme Court makes him unfit to practice as an attorney-at-law, or

(ii) who has been suspended from practice or disbarred or removed from the roll or register kept in any country or jurisdiction outside Seychelles referred to in section 5, by reason of any malpractice, misconduct or crime;

(b) suspend from practice as attorney-at-law where it is not satisfied that the security furnished by the attorney-at-law is sufficient or a good enough security for the purposes of this Act.

(2) The Supreme Court may—

(a) instead of making an order suspending an attorney-at-law under subsection (1) impose a fine on, or order the payment of such compensation as it thinks fit by, the attorney-at-law;

(b) when making an order under subsection (1) or fining or making an order under paragraph (a) of this subsection, make such other order, including—

(i) an order relating to the security referred to in section 5(1)(c) given by the attorney-at-law to the assets of the attorney-at-law under section 5(1) and the assets of the attorney-at-law, and

(ii) an order relating to the assets of the firm in which the attorney-at-law is a partner, as it thinks.

(3) For the purposes of subsection(1) the Supreme Court may act on its own motion or upon an application in writing by the Attorney-General or the Bar Association of Seychelles.

(4) Before an attorney-at-law is suspended from practice or removed from the roll he shall be informed of the charge or complaint against him and be given an opportunity to be heard in person or by legal practitioner as he thinks fit.

(5) The Registrar shall—

(a) when the Supreme Court has suspended an attorney-at-law from practice, enter a note of the Court order on the roll;

(b) where the Supreme Court has removed an attorney-at-law from the roll, remove the name of the attorney-at-law from the roll.

11. Reinstatement of an attorney-at-law.

(1) The Supreme Court may, on an application of a person who has been suspended from practice as an attorney-at-law or removed from the roll, remove the suspension or reinstate the person as an attorney-at-law on the roll.

(2) Where the Supreme Court has removed the suspension or made an order of reinstatement under subsection(1), the person shall, if the security given by him under section 5(1)(c) is still valid and, subject to any written law requiring him to have a licence to provide legal services, be entitled to practice as an attorney-at-law.

(3) The Registrar shall—

(a) where the Supreme Court has removed a suspension under subsection (2), enter a note to this effect on the roll, or

(b) where the Supreme Court has reinstated a person under subsection (2), reinstate the name of the person on the roll.

(4) The Chief Justice may make rules in connection with the proceedings for the hearing of an application under subsection (1).

PART III

OTHERS WHO MAY PLEAD IN COURT ETC

12. Supreme Court may allow other persons to appear before court etc.

(1) The Supreme Court may, in accordance with the rules other prescribed by the Chief Justice, allow a person who is qualified to appear under subsection (3) to appear and practice before a court or a tribunal or other institution established by law for the administration of justice in respect of any proceedings or for any period not exceeding six months.

(2) A person who is allowed to practice under subsection (1) shall not, except for the purpose of appearing in a court, tribunal or institution referred to in subsection (1) for the proceeding, or during the period, for which he has been allowed by the Supreme Court, act as an attorney-at-law or deal with clients otherwise than through an attorney-at-law.

(3) A person is qualified for the purpose of subsection (1) if he is qualified under section 5(1)(a)(i), (ii) or (iii) and the Supreme Court is of the opinion that he is a fit and proper person to be allowed to practice.

(4) The Registrar shall keep a register in which he shall enter the particulars of the person allowed to practice under subsection (1) together with any conditions imposed by the Supreme Court and he shall issue the person with a certificate containing the particulars and the conditions.

(5) A person who is allowed to practice under subsection (1) is subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court may at any time, after informing the person of the charge or complaint against him and giving the person an opportunity to be heard, alter or add new condition to or revoke the permission granted under subsection (1) if the Supreme Court is of the opinion that the person is guilty of any malpractice, misconduct or a crime which makes him unfit to practice before the court, tribunal or institution referred to in subsection (1).

13. Attorney-General and other law officers may practice before court etc.

(1) The Attorney-General and any other person—

(a) who is employed in the Department of Legal Affairs; and

(b) who has been appointed by the Attorney-General for the purpose of appearing on behalf of the Republic or Government or another public body or the Attorney-General or a public officer under a written law,

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