Initiating disciplinary cases against lawyers
The legal system of a country is meant to ensure the smooth functioning of government business and maintenance of law and order.
In order to maintain law and order, it is necessary to keep checks and balances on the behavior of those who are part of the legal system, such as lawyers and law enforcement.
Lawyers and law enforcement are supposed to help people and they should in no way consider themselves above the law of the country.
There are rules and regulations that define their roles and responsibilities. There is a code of conduct, which these professionals have to strictly follow. In case of a violation, they can be held accountable for their actions.
Today, we will briefly discuss ways to deal with those professionals who violate the law.
A lawsuit cannot be filed against a lawyer randomly; a strict procedure must be followed.
An aggrieved party should submit a report written on an official letterhead duly signed and sealed, and advertise in a newspaper the full name and grade of the public prosecutor and address. The advertisement should also contain the full name of the defendant attorney, the name of his office, its branches and location, and the accusation against the prosecutor with supporting evidence.
The Public Prosecution in Saudi Arabia recently issued a circular stating the procedures to be followed in such cases.
The proceedings begin with the submission of papers regarding the complaint to the relevant Public Service Crimes Department branch. A criminal number is not issued to such cases. An investigator reserves the right to summon the accused lawyer to record statements on the issue. However, the investigator cannot forcibly summon a lawyer or take any action that obliges the accused to record a statement, such as suspending his services.
The Public Service Crime Department summons the accused by phone without referring them to the authorities.
However, an investigator has the right to communicate with the authorities for clarifications.
Once the procedures are completed, the case is referred to the main office of the Public Prosecution in order to request permission to initiate the disciplinary case.
It is worth noting that disciplinary lawsuits can become void in certain situations, including the death of a lawyer or if a lawyer loses eligibility to practice in the wake of license suspension by the Registration and Admission Committee.
We will continue to highlight this issue in future columns to help people understand their rights and duties in this regard.
• Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi lawyer and legal consultant. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif