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Statement by Hon Chief Justice A. K. Savage at the Enrolment of Legal Practitioners on 16th October 2008,High Court Room No 1

Oct 24, 2008, 6:07 AM

Hon Judges of Superior Courts

My Able Judicial Secretary

Hon Master and Registrar of the High Court

Worships, the Magistrates

Learned Members of the Attorney General's Chambers

Learned President and Members of the Gambia Bar Association

Court Registrars and Staff

Family Members and Friends of the new Legal Practitioners

Members of the Press

Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen

It is my honour and privilege to deliver a statement at this very important event. We have just witnessed the enrolment of two young Gambians to the Bar. They have subscribed to the relevant Oaths, donned their wigs and gowns and received their practicing certificates. From now on, they would be called and relied upon by a wide range of people to render legal services.

These young people have chosen a path that carries lots of responsibilities, requirements as well as ethical behaviour and conduct.

In my view, a legal practitioner must combine and satisfy three fundamental requirements.

The first is competence. Competence here means learning, knowledge of the law and rules (of procedure), the ability to apply them and the skills to practice. Having been admitted to the Bar, these young people have definitely met the first competent requirement.

. The second requirement is to serve the course of justice. This requires adherence religiously to the due process of law and the furtherance of the rule of law. In providing services, these legal practitioners must abide with and follow the law, rules and regulations. They must never use any form of short-cuts or sharp practices. They must, at all times, stick to the course of justice.

.The third requirement is to pursue the course of justice for no other consideration than justice itself. In other words, the motivation and primary objective of these practitioners must always be justice. They must never be driven by greed, love of power, wealth or fame. They must always be satisfied and contented that justice has been or being done.

Having stated that, I now come to your obligations:

1. You owe a primary duty to the courts. Your duty here is to assist the judges, magistrates and other presiding judicial officers to arrive at the truth and justice of the given matter or case before the court. Your duty always is to offer counsel and guidance to everyone, clients or opponents alike, for one single purposeassisting the courts to attain the justice of the case.

2. You also have a duty to your clients. They have entrusted their lives, properties and confidence in you. You must not play with them, make a fool or take advantage, of them. You are serving them and therefore their servant. You have a responsibility and are duty bound to provide to them honest, accurate and qualitative advice and representation. You must never cheat or betray them. You must at all times serve them and serve them well too;

3. Your third duty is to your colleagues. You have been bound by your calling to work together with colleagues. In most situations, you and your colleagues take different sides and positions, whether in and out of court. Certainly, all of you serve the same single and common purpose - justice and justice alone. You must sometimes necessarily agree to disagree with colleagues but this must be always done with candour and humility. Remember that you are learned friends, which means fighting it out in the courts and socialising/fraternising outside court rooms. You must learn to respect and accept your colleagues and do unto them as you would expect to be done to. Always seek the support, collaboration and cooperation of your colleagues with all the humbleness you can muster. Arrogance and pride destroy human capacities. Together with your colleagues, you have a common duty, obligation and responsibility which is to develop and nurture an enviable culture in the honourable legal profession of this jurisdiction;

4. You have a duty is to your parents, loved-ones, friends, and family members. These people have waited for this day to come and they all feel proud and elated today. You have a life-long duty to maintain your good name. You therefore never, ever let your well-wishers down. You must never engage yourselves in any activity that would bring shame and disrepute to them. Let your loved-ones and family members continue to be always proud of you;

5. Finally, you have a great duty to society that produced you. You do belong to an elite, intellectual group - lawyers. The rest of the society looks upon you as learned and honourable. You therefore have a duty to stand out and remain a model in the way you serve the society, through uprightness, honesty, integrity and sacrifice. Members of the society rely and depend on you. Therefore, your contributions to society would go a long way in bringing about meaningful social development in the Gambia and complement the great strides taken by the Government.

Before concluding, I strongly enjoin the two of you to take your practice, the courts, your colleagues, clients, the society and family members very, very seriously.

On that note and on behalf of the entire Judiciary, I welcome you to the legal fraternity and congratulate you and your parents, friends and loved-ones for this achievement. I thank you all for your kind attention