Lawyers and Legal Practice Act 2014

Link to law: http://www.palemene.ws/new/wp-content/uploads/01.Acts/Acts%202014/Lawyers-and-Legal-Practice-Act-2014-Eng.pdf

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rangement of Provisions

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1. Short title and commencement
2. Interpretation
3. Purpose of the Act and
fundamental obligations of
lawyers

PART II
SAMOA LAW SOCIETY

4. Continuation of the Law
Society
5. Functions of the Law Society
6. Duties and powers of the Law
Society
7. Rules for professional conduct
8. Meetings of the Law Society
9. Procedures for approving Rules
or motions by circular
10. Council of the Law Society
11. Meeting of the Council
12. Conflict of interest
13. Functions, powers, and duties
of Council
14. Law Society account

PART III
ROLLS OF BARRISTERS
AND SOLICITORS

15. Registrar to maintain rolls of
barristers and solicitors
16. Enrolment
17. Removal and suspension of
names from the roll
18. Restoration of names on the
roll
19. Review of a roll on appeal
20. Removal of name at own
request
21. Restoration of names to rolls
22. Restoration fees

PART IV
ADMISSION OF LAWYERS

23. General qualifications for
admission
24. Admission and enrolment on
the permanent roll
25. Temporary admission and
enrolment on the temporary
roll
26. Applications for admission
27. Admission
28. Oath of admission
29. Restriction on further
applications
30. Admission fees




2 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21
PART V
PRACTICE OF THE LAW
31. Status of barristers and
solicitors
32. Right to practise as a lawyer
33. Restrictions on rights of
solicitors to commence
private practice on own
account
34. Barrister sole
35. Issue and cancellation of
annual practising certificates
36. Annual practising fees
PART VI
SOLICITORS’ TRUST
ACCOUNTS
37. Solicitor to pay clients’
money into trust account at a
bank
38. Administration of trust
account in certain cases
39. Auditing of trust accounts
PART VII
DISCIPLINARY MATTERS
Division 1 - General
40. Definitions
41. Unsatisfactory professional
conduct
42. Professional misconduct
43. Disqualifications for
Complaints Committee and
disciplinary tribunals
44. Remuneration
Division 2 – Complaints,
investigation and Complaints and
Investigation Committee
45. Complaints and suspension
46. Complainant to be notified
and reasons for decision
47. Complaints and
Investigation Committee
48. Further information
49. Dismissal or settlement of
complaints
50. Investigation
51. Charges and prosecution

Division 3 – Lawyers
Disciplinary Tribunals

52. Disciplinary tribunals
53. Powers and duties of
tribunals

Division 4 – Powers of
inquiry and penalties

54. Powers of Commissions of
Inquiry to apply
55. Penalties for unsatisfactory
professional conduct
56. Penalties for professional
misconduct
57. Penalties for professional
misconduct involving trust
accounts

PART VIII
MISCELLANEOUS

58. Suspension of lawyers unfit
to practise law and power to
manage practice
59. Evidence of fees and
overcharging
60. Use of “paralegal” and
“law clerk”
61. Other restricted terms
62. Law Society to be a party to
proceedings
63. Vesting of responsibilities in
other regulatory bodies
64. Exemption of liability
65. Regulations
66. Repeal and amendments
67. Saving and transitional
provisions
__________


2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 3


2014, No. 21

AN ACT to regulate the legal profession and legal practice and for related purposes. [28
th October 2014]

BE IT ENACTED by the Legislative Assembly of Samoa in
Parliament assembled as follows:

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1. Short title and commencement-(1) This Act may be cited
as the Lawyers and Legal Practice Act 2014.
(2) This Act commences on the date of assent by the Head of
State.

2. Interpretation-(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise
requires:
“barrister” means a lawyer who has opted to practise law as a
barrister sole pursuant to section 33;
“barrister and solicitor” means a lawyer who is admitted under
Part IV as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court;
“barrister sole practising certificate” means a practising
certificate of a barrister sole issued under section 34(1)(c);
“conflict of interest” means an interest of a person that has the
potential to undermine the impartiality of that person in a
matter;
“Council” means the Council of the Law Society elected
under section 10(1);
“councillor” means a member of the Council;
“court” in relation to the work of a lawyer, or the appearance
of a lawyer as counsel, includes any tribunal established
by law;
“Court of Appeal” means the Court of Appeal of Samoa;



4 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

“Complaints Committee” or “Committee” means the
Complaints and Investigation Committee established by
section 46;
“disciplinary tribunal” or “tribunal” means a lawyers’
disciplinary tribunal established by section 51;
“government agency” includes all public enterprises under the
Public Bodies (Performance and Accountability) Act
2001;
“law firm” means a firm of solicitors or of barristers and
solicitors (whether comprising a sole practitioner or more
than one (1) lawyer), in which at least one (1) lawyer is
entitled to practise law on his or her own account under
this Act, and holds a current practising certificate;
“Law Society” or “Society” means the Samoa Law Society
continued by section 4;
“lawyer” means a person who has been duly admitted as a
barrister and solicitor, whether that person practises as a
barrister sole, or as a solicitor under this Act;
“member” in relation to the Law Society, means a lawyer who
currently holds a practising certificate under this Act;
“Minister” means the Minister who is directed under Article
35 of the Constitution to be responsible for this Act;
“newspaper” means a newspaper having wide circulation
throughout Samoa;
“non-resident lawyer” means a lawyer who is enrolled on the
temporary roll and holds a current practising certificate as
a non-resident lawyer;
“permanent roll” means the permanent roll established under
section 14(1)(a);
“practising certificate” means a practising certificate issued
under section 34;
“President” means the President of the Law Society;
“professional misconduct” means professional misconduct of
a lawyer specified under section 41, and includes
professional misconduct specified under any other
provision of this Act;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of the Supreme Court;
“Regulations” means Regulations made under this Act;
“repealed Act” means the Law Practitioners Act 1976;


2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 5

“resident member” means a lawyer other than a non-resident
lawyer;
“roll” means the permanent roll of barristers and solicitors or
the temporary roll of barristers and solicitors kept under
section 14;
“Rules” means Rules made under section 7;
“Secretary” means the Secretary of the Law Society;
“solicitor” means a lawyer who practises law as a solicitor
under this Act;
“Supreme Court” means the Supreme Court of Samoa;
“temporary roll” means the temporary roll established under
section 14(1)(b);
“territory” includes any state, province, or other area within a
country;
“trust account”, means a trust account of a solicitor at any
bank in Samoa either:
(a) in the name of that solicitor; or
(b) in the name of a firm of solicitors in which the solicitor
is a partner or is held out to be a partner; or
(c) in the name of a solicitor or firm of solicitors by whom
the solicitor is employed or engaged.
“unsatisfactory professional conduct” means unsatisfactory
professional conduct of a lawyer specified under section
40, and includes unsatisfactory professional conduct
specified under any other provision of this Act.
(2) Without limiting the expression “practise as a solicitor or
lawyer” in this Act, a person is taken to practise as a solicitor or
lawyer for the purposes of this Act if the person gives or provides
legal advice on Samoan law (oral or written) for a fee or other
valuable consideration to any person, whether in Samoa or
elsewhere or draws or prepares for or on behalf of any other
person, or holds himself or herself out as being ready to draw or
prepare for or on behalf of any other person, any:
(a) transfer of land, conveyance or other registrable
instrument affecting land; or
(b) will; or
(c) document forming part of legal proceedings in a court
which names that person as the lawyer on the court
record; or


6 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(d) any other document of a type prescribed by
Regulations or any other law as requiring a lawyer
to draw or prepare.
(3) As an exception to subsection (2), the preparation or
perusal or delivery of documents for or in connection with an
international bank licensed under the International Banking Act
2005, or the giving of advice on international banking matters or
services by or for a trustee company registered under the Trustee
Companies Act 1988, is not regarded as practise as a solicitor or
lawyer for the purposes of this Act.

3. Purpose of the Act and fundamental obligations of
lawyers-(1) The purposes of this Act are:
(a) to ensure that the legal profession of Samoa is
administered and regulated in accordance with
accepted professional and ethical standards; and
(b) to prescribe requirements for the admission of lawyers
and restrict the right to undertake legal practice and
provide legal services to duly qualified and
experienced persons who are of good character;
and
(c) to ensure that monies entrusted to lawyers are held in
accordance with legal requirements and are applied
only for the purpose which the client instructs; and
(d) to ensure that the fees and costs charged by lawyers are
fair and reasonable; and
(e) to hold lawyers to account for any act of unsatisfactory
professional conduct or professional misconduct
and for any breach of the ethical and fiduciary
duties applying to lawyers.
(2) All lawyers must comply with the following fundamental
obligations in relation to their practice and the services they
provide:
(a) to uphold the rule of law and to facilitate the
administration of justice in Samoa; and
(b) to be independent in providing legal services to their
clients; and
(c) to act in accordance with all fiduciary duties and duties
of care owed by them to their clients; and


2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 7

(d) to protect, subject to the overriding duties as officers of
the court and other duties in or made pursuant to
this Act, the interests of their clients.

PART II
SAMOA LAW SOCIETY

4. Continuation of the Law Society-(1) The Samoa Law
Society established under the repealed Act is continued, and must
be managed and administered, and exercise its duties and powers,
under this Act.
(2) All lawyers who practise law, whether as a barrister sole or
a solicitor, must be members of the Law Society, and are bound
by its rules and subject to its procedures.
(3) The Law Society:
(a) is a body corporate with perpetual succession; and
(b) must have a common seal; and
(c) may enter into contracts; and
(d) may commence or be a party to legal proceedings
under its name; and
(e) may acquire, hold and dispose of property both real
and personal; and
(f) may carry out any other act that a legal entity may
lawfully do.

5. Functions of the Law Society - The functions of the Law
Society are:
(a) to promote and encourage proper conduct among
lawyers, including the proper management and
expenditure of client’s monies held on trust; and
(b) to suppress illegal, unethical, dishonourable,
unprofessional, and improper conduct by lawyers;
and
(c) to preserve and maintain the integrity and status of the
legal profession; and
(d) to review all applications for admission to determine
that the requirements of this Act have been met by
the applicant; and



8 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(e) to provide, promote, and encourage opportunities for
the acquisition, development, and dissemination of
legal knowledge; and
(f) to promote and encourage the maintenance of the rule
of law, and the development of the laws of Samoa;
and
(g) to promote respect for the Samoan customs and
traditions to its members where relevant; and
(h) to consider and suggest amendments to the law; and
(i) to represent the legal profession and advocate for its
interests; and
(j) to protect the interests of the legal profession; and
(k) to carry out any other functions under this Act and any
other law.

6. Duties and powers of the Law Society-(1) The Law
Society has the powers under this Act and any other law, and all
powers that are necessary or reasonably expedient to enable it to
carry out its functions.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Law Society may do
all or any of the following:
(a) issue practising certificates;
(b) inquire into the character and qualifications of each
applicant for admission, and ensure that all
relevant matters are brought to the attention of the
Supreme Court when it hears the application for
admission;
(c) investigate complaints made against lawyers, and any
other ethical or professional misconduct by any
lawyer or law firm;
(d) undertake prosecutions against lawyers or other
persons for a breach of this Act or any other law
relating to the practice of law;
(e) appoint any lawyer to appear in any court on behalf of
the Society in respect of any matter referred to in
paragraphs (a) and (b), or in any other matter in
which the Society may be concerned or interested;



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 9

(f) in accordance with this Act, and with the Rules, impose
and collect fees or other charges from its members
and from applicants for admission as a lawyer;
(g) require that lawyers undertake or attend courses of
continuing legal education, and seminars or
courses relating to developments in the law;
(h) issue certificates attesting to the character and status of
members, upon payment of a fee fixed by the
Council;
(i) exercise any other powers that are conferred on it by
this Act or any other Act.

7. Rules for professional conduct-(1) The Law Society may
make rules for professional conduct or standards for the purposes
of regulating the Society or the legal profession, and in particular
may make the following professional rules:
(a) rules relating to duties of lawyers to clients and the
courts;
(b) rules relating to solicitors’ scale of costs and other
legal fees or costs, subject to regulations to deal
with overcharging on mortgages and other
securities documents;
(c) rules relating to meetings of the Society or Council;
(d) rules relating to trust accounts;
(e) rules relating to duties when preparing mortgages,
securities or loan contracts, including duties to
ensure that an unrepresented party to mortgages,
securities or other loan contracts understands the
obligations and implications in them;
(f) rules dealing with further classifications of practising
certificates, the rights of practice, and restrictions on
rights to practise law, applying to the classifications
of practising certificate;
(g) rules relating to disciplinary procedures;
(h) other rules required to be made under this Act.
(2) Rules must not be inconsistent with this Act or regulations.



10 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(3) Rules do not come into effect until endorsed by at least
two-thirds of resident members of the Society at an annual or
special meeting or by use of the circular procedure referred to in
section 9.
(4) Rules bind all members of the Law Society, and all other
persons to whom such rules may be applied under this Act.
(5) The Secretary must provide a copy of the Rules to any
person to whom the Rules apply, and may charge a fee approved
by the Council.

8. Meetings of the Law Society-(1) The following rules apply
at an annual general meeting of the Law Society:
(a) an annual general meeting must be held -
(i) in every calendar year to elect the
officers of the Society and to deal with any
other business or matter;
(ii) within 15 months of the previous
annual general meeting;
(iii) at a time and place to be appointed by
the Council;
(b) the President or the Vice-President (if the President is
not present) or a member of Council elected by the
members present (if both the President and the
Vice-President are absent) is to preside;
(c) forty per cent of members who are resident lawyers
(present in person) constitute a quorum, subject to
subsection (5);
(d) any question is to be decided by a majority of votes of
the members present;
(e) the person presiding has a deliberative vote, and, in the
case of an equality of votes, has a casting vote.
(2) The Council may at any time, and must whenever required
to do so by a notice in writing by not less than 10% of the
members of the Society, call an extraordinary general meeting of
the Society at a time and place (being within 28 days after receipt
of any such notice) appointed by the Council.
(3) The Council must give a member of the Law Society the
following notices of meetings and of the businesses to be
transacted:


2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 11

(a) for an annual general meeting, not less than 14 days’
notice; and
(b) for other general meeting, not less than five (5) days’
notice,
but an accidental failure to comply with this subsection does not
invalidate the proceedings.
(4) Notice may be given by:
(a) advertisement placed in a newspaper; or
(b) delivery of a written notice to the office or postal
address provided to the Society by each member;
or
(c) the transmission of an electronic mail message to the
electronic mail address of the member, or the law
firm with whom the member is employed, as
provided to the Secretary.
(5) If there is no quorum at an annual general meeting, a
further meeting:
(a) must be called by notice given under subsections (3)(a)
and (4); and
(b) that further meeting may proceed with the members
present even if there is no quorum as required
under subsection (1)(c).
(6) A person who is suspended from practise as a lawyer has
no right to participate or vote in any annual, general or other
meeting of the Society.
(7) Subject to this Act, and to Rules, the Law Society may
regulate its procedures at general meetings.

9. Procedures for approving Rules or motions by
circular-(1) As an exception to any other provision of this Act,
the consent of members to any Rules or other resolution proposed
by the Society may be obtained by:
(a) delivering notice of the proposed Rules or resolution to
the postal, office or electronic mail address of
members; and
(b) providing an opportunity for the members to indicate
their consent or otherwise to the proposal by
written or electronic mailed communication.



12 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(2) Rules may provide for further procedures relating to the
application of this section.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the Secretary may require
all lawyers to provide an electronic mail address, and the sending
of any notice or document to the electronic mail address provided
is taken to be valid service of the notice or document on the
lawyer for any purpose under this Act.

10. Council of the Law Society-(1) The Council of the
Samoa Law Society consists of current members of the Society
elected to be the following councillors of the Society:
(a) the President;
(b) the Vice-President;
(c) the Secretary;
(d) the Treasurer;
(e) three (3) other councillors.
(2) The Attorney General is entitled to sit in and be heard at
all meetings of Council but does not have voting rights.
(3) A councillor:
(a) holds office until the next annual general meeting
following the one at which the officer is elected to
office (unless the councillor sooner vacates office),
and is eligible for re-election; and
(b) continues in office until a successor comes into office,
unless the councillor sooner vacates office; and
(c) may resign from office in writing to the Council; and
(d) may be removed from office by the Society at a
general meeting on the grounds of -
(i) mental disability or impairment; or
(ii) insolvency declared in accordance with
law; or
(iii) neglect of duty or misconduct proved
to the satisfaction of the general meeting; and
(e) must immediately vacate the office if -
(i) the councillor is suspended under this
Act from practice as a lawyer; or
(ii) disciplinary proceedings under Part VII
are commenced against the councillor; or



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 13

(iii) the councillor is charged with any
offence which involves misuse of monies
entrusted to the councillor, or any other act of
dishonesty; and
(f) must not be a part of a process or a decision of the
Council made under Part VII if the councillor has a
conflict of interest.
(4) If the office of a councillor becomes vacant, the vacancy
must be filled:
(a) by a vote taken by the Council in a meeting of the
Council; or
(b) as provided under the Rules,
and the new councillor holds office for the remainder of the term
of the councillor who vacated the office.
(5) Rules may provide:
(a) procedures in relation to the nomination and election of
councillors, including the filling of vacancies; and
(b) for sitting fees and other allowances to all or any of the
officers comprising the Council.

11. Meeting of the Council-(1) The Council shall meet at
least once a month and at any other time considered necessary by
the President or majority of the councilors.
(2) Subject to the Rules, a meeting of the Council is to be
chaired by:
(a) the President; or
(b) the Vice President, if the President is absent; or
(c) a councilor present elected by other councilors present,
if the President and the Vice President are both
absent or both are not present after the expiration
of 15 minutes from the appointed time of the
meeting.
(3) At a meeting of the Council:
(a) five (5) councilors constitute a quorum, subject to any
quorum determined under paragraph (f);
(b) the Council may discuss and deliberate on the business
of the Society, including matters in relation to the
functions, duties and powers of the Council under
the Act;


14 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(c) any question is to be decided by show of hands;
(d) a councilor present has one (1) vote, subject to
paragraph (e);
(e) the presiding councilor has a deliberative vote and a
casting vote;
(f) the Council may regulate other procedures, including
adjournments and determining quorum for
transacting other business of the Council.
(4) The Secretary in consultation with the President may
summon a meeting of the Council by notice through email,
telephone or in writing served on all councilors.
(5) The Council may delegate any of its functions, duties and
powers under this Act to a sub-Committee consisting of
councilors and members of the Society, subject to conditions
imposed by the Council or other requirements set out in the rules,
including meeting procedures and proceedings of the sub-
committee.
(6) A written resolution of the Council signed by all members
of the Council or a sub-committee is valid as if it had been passed
at a meeting of the Council or sub-committee.
(7) The Council must ensure that proper minutes are kept of
all proceedings at meetings of the Council and such minutes are
regarded without further proof required of sufficient evidence of
meetings when certified correct by the Chairperson at the next
succeeding meeting.
(8) Any act done in good faith at any meeting of the Council,
or of a sub-committee of the Council, or by any person acting as a
councilor or member of the sub-committee, is valid despite that a
defect or irregularity in an appointment of a councilor or a
member of the sub-committee is later disqualified from being a
councilor or a member of the sub-committee.

12. Conflict of interest - If a person has any interest in a
matter on which the Council must make a decision or issue an
order under this Act, that person:
(a) must declare the interest; and
(b) must not take part in a process or decision regarding
the matter relevant to the declaration made.



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 15

13. Functions, powers, and duties of Council-(1) The
Council has the following functions:
(a) to act as the executive body of the Law Society;
(b) to be responsible for the administration, control, and
management of the affairs of the Society, and of its
funds and other assets, under this Act;
(c) to implement the provisions of this Act; subject to the
duties and powers of the Minister under this Act;
(d) perform other functions conferred on it by this Act or
by any other law, or under the Regulations or
Rules.
(2) The Council has the following powers:
(a) to appoint committees of members of the Law Society,
and delegate to any such committee any of the
powers of the Council, and to revoke a delegation.
(b) to carry out other powers that are necessary or
reasonably expedient for the exercise and
performance of its functions and duties, including
such powers as may be conferred on it by this Act
or any other law, or by the Rules.
(3) Nothing in this section prevents the Council from
appointing persons who are not members of the Law Society to sit
on a committee if it is appropriate to have lay representation on it,
or if the Council considers such a person can contribute to the
effective performance of the role and duties of the committee.
(4) Subject to this Act, and to the Rules, the Council may
regulate its own procedures in such manner as it thinks fit.

14. Law Society account-(1) The Law Society must:
(a) establish and maintain an account to be called the
“Samoa Law Society Account”, at a bank licensed
under the Financial Institutions Act 1996; and
(b) ensure that all monies lawfully received by the Society
or the Council, or by any officer, member or agent
of the Society, are deposited into that Account.



16 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(2) Withdrawals from the Samoa Law Society Account may
not be made except by cheque or other instrument signed by any
officer of the Law Society authorised for that purpose by the
Council, and countersigned by another officer of the Society who
is so authorised.
(3) The Law Society must keep proper records and books of
account and must cause its accounts to be audited annually, and
the Secretary must provide to every member a copy of the annual
accounts together with the auditor’s report on the accounts.
(4) Nothing in this section prevents the Council from
authorising the establishment of more than one (1) account if it
considers that a separate account should be kept for any specific
purpose of the Society, or to ensure that the Society’s funds are
properly managed and invested, and the requirements of this
section apply to each such account.

PART III
ROLLS OF BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS

15. Registrar to maintain rolls of barristers and
solicitors-(1) The Registrar must establish and maintain at the
Registrar’s office the following rolls:
(a) a permanent roll of barristers and solicitors of the
Supreme Court, containing the names of all
persons who are admitted as a barrister and
solicitor under section 26; and
(b) a temporary roll of barristers and solicitors of the
Supreme Court, containing the names of all
persons who are admitted temporarily as a barrister
and solicitor under section 26.
(2) Upon the commencement of this Act, the Registrar must
enter the names of lawyers who are currently admitted to practise
law under the repealed Act, in accordance with the nature of the
admission as being permanent or temporary.

16. Enrolment-(1) When a person is admitted as a barrister
and solicitor under section 26, the Registrar must enter the name
of the person on the appropriate roll.



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 17

(2) For temporary admission, the Registrar must also specify
on the temporary roll the duration determined under section 24 for
the temporary admission.

17. Removal and suspension of names from the roll-(1) The
Registrar must strike the name of a lawyer off, or note the
suspension of the lawyer, on the appropriate roll:
(a) upon receipt of a certificate signed by the Secretary
that an order has been made under this Act that the
name of the lawyer be struck off a roll, or that the
lawyer is to be suspended from practice; or
(b) if the Registrar is otherwise advised of a decision to
strike off or suspend a lawyer by a person or body
empowered under this Act to make such a
decision; or
(c) upon an order to that effect being made by the
Supreme Court.
(2) When giving effect to subsection (1), the Registrar must
note on the roll the date the order was made and the reasons for
making the order.

18. Restoration of names on the roll-(1) The Registrar must
restore to the roll the name of a lawyer struck off or suspended
from it:
(a) if the Supreme Court makes an order under section 20
that the name of a person be restored to a roll; or
(b) upon the expiration of a period of suspension.
(2) When giving effect to subsection (1)(a), the Registrar must
note on the roll the date of the order, by whom it was made, and
the reasons given for the order being made.

19. Review of a roll on appeal - Where, as the result of an
appeal, an order of the Council or of the Supreme Court relating
to any matter affecting a roll is reversed or varied, the Registrar of
the Supreme Court must make such entries on the appropriate roll
as are necessary to give effect to the order of the Council or Court
determining the appeal.



18 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

20. Removal of name at own request - On the application of
a lawyer, the Supreme Court may make an order that the lawyer’s
name be removed from either roll.

21. Restoration of names to rolls-(1) A person whose name
has been struck off or removed from a roll may, subject to this
Act, apply to the Supreme Court for the restoration of his or her
name to that roll.
(2) On application being made to the Supreme Court under
this section, the Court may, if it is satisfied that the person is a fit
and proper person to practise as lawyer, make an order that the
name of the person be restored to the appropriate roll.
(3) In making an order under subsection (2), the Supreme
Court may impose the condition that the lawyer must not, until the
lawyer is authorised by the Council to do so:
(a) practise as a barrister or as a solicitor; or
(b) practise as a solicitor on his or her own account.

22. Restoration fees - The Law Society may fix by resolution
in general meeting or by Rules, fees that are payable to the
Society for the restoration of lawyers’ names to a roll.

PART IV
ADMISSION OF LAWYERS

23. General qualifications for admission-(1) A person is
qualified for admission as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme
Court if the person:
(a) has attained the age of 21 years; and
(b) is established to be of good character in accordance
with this Part; and
(c) holds the prescribed qualifications.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), “prescribed
qualifications” means qualifications prescribed under the repealed
Act, or qualifications which must be prescribed by the Council,
and by notice published in the Savali and a newspaper.
(3) No qualifications must be prescribed for the purpose of
subsection (1) unless they are equivalent to, or are in the opinion
of the Council, equivalent to:


2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 19

(a) an academic qualification in law; or
(b) a professional qualification in law; or
(c) an academic and professional qualification in law,
in any country or territory, or in any jurisdiction within any
country or territory, which in the opinion of the Council has a
legal system sufficiently similar to that of Samoa.
(4) In addition to any qualifications prescribed under this
section, Rules may require that applicants for admission
demonstrate knowledge of Samoan laws and practice, and may
require that an applicant attend a course of training and complete
an examination in this regard, as approved by the Council.

24. Admission and enrolment on the permanent roll - No
lawyer may be enrolled on the permanent roll unless the Supreme
Court is satisfied that the lawyer:
(a) is a citizen of Samoa; and
(b) meets other general qualifications under section 22.

25. Temporary admission and enrolment on the temporary
roll-(1) The Supreme Court may, on application under this Part,
admit an applicant who is not a citizen of Samoa as a barrister and
solicitor on the temporary roll, if the Court is satisfied that the
applicant meets the general qualifications under section 22.
(2) The Supreme Court may, on the recommendation of the
Council, determine the duration of enrolment under subsection (1)
taking into account any of the following:
(a) the period for which the lawyer is contracted to work
in Samoa;
(b) the length of time that the lawyer is likely to be
retained to represent clients in a court of Samoa;
(c) the period of the lawyer’s likely residence in Samoa
taking into account any relevant factor.
(3) No period determined under subsection (2) may exceed
five (5) years, but a lawyer may submit further applications after
the expiration of any period of temporary admission.
(4) When the duration of an enrolment has expired, the
Council may:



20 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(a) accept a declaration on oath from the lawyer that all
previous documents supplied in support of the
previous admission are still true and correct; and
(b) certify the applicant under section 25 for further
admission accordingly.

26. Applications for admission-(1) An application for
admission as a barrister and solicitor must be made by the
applicant to the Supreme Court in the manner prescribed by Rules
of Court, or, if there are no such rules, then in such manner as the
Supreme Court may direct.
(2) A Certificate issued by the Council and signed by the
Secretary, that the applicant is of good character and holds the
prescribed qualifications, is sufficient evidence that the applicant
has the qualifications specified in this Part.
(3) Before issuing any certificate under subsection (2), the
Council must apply procedures which:
(a) require the applicant to provide certificates from
the Courts or professional lawyers associations in
the jurisdiction where the applicant is practising, or
has practised, attesting to the fact that no
disciplinary action has been taken, or is pending, in
relation to the applicant’s practice of the law; and
(b) subject to subsection (4), require an applicant to
provide character references from at least two (2)
persons who are practising lawyers in any
jurisdiction for a period of not less than five (5)
years and have known the applicant for not less
than three (3) years; and
(c) ensure that the documents provided by the applicant in
support of the application are valid and correct,
and apply to the applicant; and
(d) require the applicant to attend before a representative
of the Council to be interviewed and to answer
questions and provide all information necessary for
the Council to decide whether to issue a certificate;
and



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 21

(e) require the applicant to provide a declaration on oath
affirming that -
(i) all documents and information provided
in support of his or her application are true and
correct; and
(ii) there are no other matters relevant to
the application that would affect his or her
application, or influence the decision of the
Council in relation to the issuing of the
Certificate; and
(f) make such other inquiries as the Council thinks fit
concerning the applicant for the purposes of this
section.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3)(b), Council may accept
a character reference from a person who is not a practising lawyer
if the applicant provides reasons on oath that are acceptable to the
Council for an alternative affidavit to be provided.
(5) A person who:
(a) provides any false or misleading information in an
application under this section; or
(b) makes any false or misleading statement to the
representative of the Council in the course of his or
her application; or
(c) fails to divulge any information to the Council which
may have caused it to refuse to issue a certificate
under this section,
commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not
exceeding 1,000 penalty units, or to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding 12 months, or both.
(6) The name of a lawyer who is convicted under subsection
(5) must be removed from the roll.
(7) If at any time it is discovered that a person has been
admitted based on false or misleading information, that is taken to
be unsatisfactory professional conduct and that person must be
dealt with under Part VII.

27. Admission - On application being made to the Supreme
Court in accordance with this Part, the Supreme Court may, if
it is satisfied that the applicant is qualified for admission, make an


22 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

order admitting the applicant as a barrister and solicitor of the
Supreme Court, and such order must:
(a) specify whether the lawyer’s name is to be entered on
the permanent roll or temporary roll; and
(b) for enrolment on the temporary roll, specify the
duration of enrolment under section 24(2).

28. Oath of admission-(1) When an order is made for the
admission of a person as a lawyer under this Part, the person must
take the following oath or affirmation, before being enrolled:

“I......, [swear/affirm] that I will truly and honestly conduct
myself in the practice of a Barrister and Solicitor of the
Supreme Court of Samoa according to the best of my
knowledge and ability.”.

(2) No order for the admission of a lawyer takes effect until
the person in respect of whom the order is made has taken the
oath or affirmation required by this section.

29. Restriction on further applications - The Supreme Court
may, if it refuses an application for admission under this Part,
order that no further application for admission may be made by
the applicant for such period, not exceeding two (2) years, as the
Court specifies.

30. Admission fees-(1) The Council of the Law Society may,
by notice in the Savali and a newspaper, fix admission fees to be
payable to the Society by applicants on admission as barristers
and solicitors.
(2) Separate fees may be fixed for lawyers admitted on the
permanent roll or temporary roll.
(3) If the Council intends to increase admission fees, a
proposed increase must not exceed 50% of the current fee.



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 23

PART V
PRACTICE OF THE LAW

31. Status of barristers and solicitors - After the
commencement of this Act, barristers and solicitors continue to
have the same powers, privileges, duties, and responsibilities as
applied to barristers and solicitors appearing in a court in Samoa
immediately before the commencement of this Act, and such
other powers, privileges, duties, and responsibilities as may be
conferred on them by law.

32. Right to practise as a lawyer-(1) No person may practise
as a lawyer unless the person:
(a) has been admitted as a barrister and solicitor; and
(b) holds a practising certificate.
(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an
offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 1,000
penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6)
months, or both.
(3) A lawyer who holds an unrestricted practising certificate:
(a) must comply with this section; and
(b) has the right to practise law on his or her own account
(either as a sole practitioner or as a partner in a law
firm); and
(c) may employ and supervise a lawyer who holds a
restricted practising certificate.
(4) A lawyer who holds a restricted practising certificate may
only practise law as:
(a) the employee of a lawyer who holds an unrestricted
practising certificate, subject to the supervision at all
times of that lawyer; or
(b) an employee within the Office of the Attorney General
or a government Ministry or a public body as
defined under the Public Bodies (Performance and
Accountability) Act 2001.
(5) A non-resident lawyer who holds a practising certificate:
(a) must practise as a lawyer in accordance with this Act
under the supervision of a lawyer holding an
unrestricted practising certificate; and


24 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(b) must not receive monies on trust; and
(c) must not practise law on his or her own account.

33. Restrictions on rights of solicitors to commence private
practice on own account-(1) No lawyer may commence practice
as a solicitor on their own account, whether in partnership or as
sole practitioner, unless the lawyer:
(a) during the period of eight (8) years immediately
preceding the date on which the lawyer
commences practice on own account, has had at
least three (3) years’ supervised experience as a
barrister or as a solicitor, or as a legal officer in a
government Ministry, either in Samoa or in any
other country approved by the Council for the
purposes of this subsection; or
(b) at any time within the past five (5) years, has lawfully
practised as a solicitor, within the past five (5)
years, in Samoa or in another country on his or her
own account.
(2) A lawyer seeking the right to practise law on his or her
own account as a barrister and solicitor, whether in partnership or
as sole practitioner, must apply to the Council for the issue of a
practising certificate and must satisfy the Council that he or she:
(a) meets the requirements of subsection (1); and
(b) subject to subsection (3), has resided in Samoa for a
period of at least three (3) years immediately prior
to his or her application; and
(c) must be present in Samoa to undertake the
management of the practice on a permanent basis,
or has made arrangements which are satisfactory to
the Council, for a lawyer of appropriate experience
to be permanently present to manage the practice;
and
(d) has adequate knowledge and experience in handling
monies held on trust in accordance with all
requirements applying to such moneys and
accounts; and



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 25

(e) has made appropriate arrangements for the audit of the
trust fund the lawyer is required to maintain under
Part VI; and
(f) meets any additional requirements applying to the right
of barristers and solicitors to practise law on their
own account.
(3) Rules may provide for exemptions to the residency
requirements of subsection (2)(b) on the grounds that a lawyer has
studied or worked for a period overseas, prior to which he or she
has practised law in Samoa for the period specified by the Rules.
(4) In granting a practising certificate under this section, the
Council may:
(a) require the lawyer to provide additional information; or
(b) impose any conditions which ensure compliance with
subsection (2), and any applicable Rules.
(5) A breach of a provision of this section is professional
misconduct.

34. Barrister sole-(1) No person must practise as a barrister
sole in the courts of Samoa unless the person:
(a) has been admitted as a barrister and solicitor; and
(b) holds a barrister sole practising certificate.
(2) A lawyer who holds a barrister sole practising certificate
may only act as counsel and is subject to the following restrictions:
(a) may not take money (whether on trust or otherwise)
from any client; and
(b) may not provide any legal services that are to be
exclusively provided by a solicitor, namely -
(i) the preparation of any conveyance; or
(ii) the preparation of any will,
other than on the instructions of a solicitor; or
(iii) the preparation of any other document
prohibited or restricted to a barrister and
solicitor in accordance with the Rules; or
(iv) the performance of any other legal or
other service prohibited or restricted to a
barrister and solicitor in accordance with the
Rules; and



26 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(c) subject to subsection (3), may provide legal services
when briefed or instructed to do so by a solicitor.
(3) Rules may permit barristers to be directly retained by
clients in specific circumstances.
(4) As an exception to subsection (1)(a), a barrister may
receive his or her fee directly from a client for work undertaken in
accordance with the Rules dealing with matters under subsection
(3).
(5) A breach of a provision of this section is professional
misconduct.

35. Issue and cancellation of annual practising
certificates-(1) The Law Society may issue to a resident lawyer
or non-resident lawyer meeting the requirements of this Part any
one of the following types of annual practising certificate:
(a) a restricted annual practising certificate;
(b) an unrestricted annual practising certificate;
(c) a barrister sole annual practising certificate.
(2) An annual practising certificate issued under this Part
expires:
(a) on 31 December in the year in which it is issued; or
(b) when for any reason the holder ceases to be a lawyer;
or
(c) when for any reason the holder is suspended under this
Act from practice as a lawyer; or
(d) when the holder is struck off the roll in accordance
with this Act; or
(e) when the Council cancels an annual practising
certificate of a lawyer to issue an annual practising
certificate of another type to that lawyer.
(3) As an exception to subsection (2), if in any year for which
a practising certificate is issued the striking off or suspension of
any practitioner is reversed or revoked by order of the Court of
Appeal or the Supreme Court or otherwise, the lawyer’s practising
certificate is to be taken as a valid practising certificate for the
remainder of its term for the purposes of this Part from the date of
reversal or revocation.



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 27

(4) As an exception to subsection (2)(a), the Council may
approve a date after the expiration of a practising certificate of a
lawyer by which time application must be made for the issue of a
new practising certificate, and the lawyer is entitled to continue to
practise law under the authority of the expired certificate until the
date fixed by Council.
(5) If a non-resident lawyer is struck off or suspended in his or
her jurisdiction of ordinary practice, the lawyer is deemed struck off
or suspended under this Act and may not practise as a barrister or
solicitor in Samoa.
(6) If a non-resident lawyer resumes practice after suspension or
being struck off in his or her jurisdiction of ordinary practice, the
lawyer may apply to the Supreme Court or Council for re-admission
or the issuing of a practising certificate.
(7) Practising certificates issued to lawyers who are on the
temporary roll referred to in section 14(1)(b) must be issued on an
annual basis, but must not exceed the duration of the temporary
admission determined under section 24.
(8) If a lawyer is convicted of an offence involving
dishonesty, the annual practising certificate of the lawyer is taken
to have been cancelled by virtue of this section from the date of
conviction.

36. Annual practising fees-(1) The Council of the Law
Society may, by notice in the Savali and in a newspaper, fix fees
for annual practising certificates payable to the Society by
lawyers.
(2) If the Council proposes to increase the annual practising
fees, a proposed increase must not exceed 50% of the current fee.
(3) Different fees may be fixed for different types of
practising certificates.
(4) Regulations may prescribe other fees to be paid at the time
of issuing practising certificates.



28 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

PART VI
SOLICITORS’ TRUST ACCOUNTS

37. Solicitor to pay clients’ money into trust account at a
bank-(1) Any money received for or on behalf of a person by a
solicitor must:
(a) be held by the solicitor exclusively for that person; and
(b) be paid to that person, or as that person directs; and
(c) until so paid, be paid into a bank in the separate trust
account of that solicitor, or of the firm with whom
the solicitor practises law.
(2) The money must not:
(a) be used for the payment of the debts of any other
creditor of the solicitor, and may not be applied for
the benefit of the solicitor, or the solicitor’s firm,
except in payment of invoiced legal fees imposed
by the rendering of a bill of costs; or
(b) be attached or taken in execution under an order or
process of any court at the instance of any such
creditor of the solicitor or of the solicitor’s firm.
(3) A breach of subsection (1) or (2) is professional
misconduct.
(4) Nothing in this section is to be construed to take away or
affect any just claim or lien that a solicitor may have against any
money so received by the solicitor, if the rights claimed by the
solicitor are consistent with this Act and the Rules.

38. Administration of trust account in certain cases-(1)
This section applies if the Council is satisfied that a solicitor
practising in Samoa:
(a) has been suspended from practice; or
(b) has had his or her name struck off the roll; or
(c) has ceased to practise law and has neglected to wind up
the trust account after reasonable notice has been
given by the Council requiring that this be done; or
(d) owing to physical or mental disability, or for any other
reason is unable to properly administer his or her
trust account or has failed to properly administer
his or her trust account; or


2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 29

(e) has been adjudged to be insolvent, or is unable to pay
his or her debts; or
(f) has committed any theft or done anything improper in
relation to the money or property of any other
person; or
(g) has died,
and that any money entrusted to that solicitor is held in a bank in a
trust account of the solicitor.
(2) If in any case to which this section applies the Council is
of opinion that it is expedient that the trust account be
administered by the Council, the Secretary may serve a notice on
the bank signed by any two (2) members of the Council requiring
the bank to pay to the Law Society any money held by the bank in
the trust account.
(3) Upon receipt of the notice, the bank must immediately pay
to the Law Society any money held in the trust account to which
the notice relates, and the receipt of the Society is to be a
complete discharge to the bank from any liability in respect of
that money.
(4) Upon receipt of the money, the Council must immediately
pay it into a separate bank account which may only be operated
by at least two (2) persons appointed by the Council for that
purpose.
(5) If any money that was held by a solicitor on behalf of a
person is paid to the Law Society under this section, that money
must be held by the Society in trust for that person.
(6) As an exception to subsections (1) to (5), a person:
(a) who is a solicitor, and who has lawfully taken over
responsibility for the management of the monies
originally held in the trust account; or
(b) who claims to be otherwise adversely affected by any
payment to the Law Society under this section,
may apply to the Supreme Court for an order directing the Society
to repay the money into the bank account from which the money
was paid, or for such other order as the Supreme Court considers
fit.
(7) As an exception to subsection (6), the Council may repay
the money (or any part of it) into the bank account from which the
money was paid.


30 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

39. Auditing of trust accounts-(1) A solicitor must ensure
that his or her trust account is audited at least once a year by a
certified chartered accountant.
(2) If, within a year, the Council receives a complaint from a
person about the person’s money in a solicitor’s trust account,
under subsection (1), the Council must, within 3 months of
receiving the complaint, appoint a chartered accountant to audit
the solicitor’s trust account, at the Council’s own costs.
(3) The Minister may appoint the Chief Auditor or a chartered
accountant to carry out an independent audit of a trust account if:
(a) an audit is not carried out or is unreasonably delayed
under subsection (2); or
(b) a complaint is made to the Minister about the misuse
of a trust account; or
(c) the Minister is satisfied, in the public interest, that the
trust account should be audited.
(4) A copy of the audit report carried out under this section
must be given:
(a) to the solicitor whose trust account is audited under
subsection (2) or (3) within 2 months of the
completion of the report; and
(b) to any other person prescribed by regulations.
(5) A solicitor commits professional misconduct if the
solicitor breaches subsection (1).
(6) In this section:
“chartered accountant” has meaning given it, in the Samoa
Institute of Accountants Act 2006;
“Chief Auditor” means the Controller and Chief Auditor
appointed under the Constitution;
“money” includes money intended as trust account money that
has not been deposited into the solicitor’s trust account.
PART VII
DISCIPLINARY MATTERS
Division 1 - General
40. Definition - In this Part:
“complainant” means a person or a client of a lawyer who
makes a complaint under section 44;


2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 31

“investigation report” means a report prepared by the
Complaints Committee on its investigation under this Part;
“respondent” means the lawyer about whom the complaint is
made by a complainant.

41. Unsatisfactory professional conduct - A lawyer commits
an act of unsatisfactory professional conduct if the lawyer
breaches:
(a) any fundamental obligation in section 3(2); or
(b) any other requirement applying to the practice of law
under this Act, the Regulations or the Rules if -
(i) the conduct of the lawyer in connection
with the practice of law has fallen short of the
standard of competence and diligence that a
member of the public is entitled to expect of a
reasonably competent lawyer; or
(ii) the conduct of the lawyer involves a
substantial or consistent failure to reach or
maintain a reasonable standard of competence
and diligence.

42. Professional misconduct-(1) A lawyer commits an act of
professional misconduct if the lawyer breaches:
(a) any fundamental obligation stated in section 3(2); or
(b) any other requirements applying to the practice of the
law under this Act, Regulations or the Rules; or
(c) any other act or omission, whether in the practice of
the law or not.
(2) Any of the following acts are professional misconduct for
the purpose of this Part:
(a) a failure to observe the requirements applying to a trust
account under this Act, which involves the taking
by the lawyer of money held on trust in breach of
those requirements;
(b) taking land belonging to a client as payment of legal
costs;
(c) failure to cooperate with an investigation or proceeding
undertaken under this Part;



32 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(d) conviction for an offence involving dishonesty;
(e) an act or omission taken to be professional misconduct
under this Act, Regulations or the Rules.

43. Disqualifications for Complaints Committee and
disciplinary tribunals-(1) A member of the Council is not eligible
for appointment to the Complaints Committee or a disciplinary
tribunal.
(2) A member of the Complaints Committee is not eligible for
appointment to a disciplinary tribunal.
(3) A member of a disciplinary tribunal is not eligible for
appointment to the Complaints Committee.

44. Remuneration - A member of the Complaints Committee
or a disciplinary tribunal (including a lawyer appointed as a
prosecutor under section 50) is entitled to remuneration and other
allowances fixed by the Council and payable from the funds of the
Society.

Division 2 - Complaints, investigation and the
Complaints and Investigation Committee

45. Complaints and suspension-(1) A complainant may make
a written complaint to the Council stating all of the following:
(a) the full name, address and other contacts of the
complainant;
(b) the identity of the respondent;
(c) the alleged conduct complained.
(2) The Council may on its own initiative initiate a complaint
and refer it to the Complaints Committee, which may include the
following:
(a) when a lawyer is charged with an offence involving
dishonesty; or
(b) any adverse finding of a court on the conduct of a
lawyer referred by the court to the Council.
(3) The Council must refer all complaints to the Complaints
Committee.



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 33

(4) The Council may, pending an investigation, hearing or
determination of a complaint, suspend a lawyer from practice if it
is satisfied that the complaint is serious enough to warrant a
suspension.
(5) For the purposes of subsection (4), the Council must first
serve notice of at least 10 working days on the lawyer requiring the
lawyer to respond as to why the practising certificate should not be
suspended.

46. Complainant to be notified and reason for decisions-(1)
The Secretary must notify a complainant in writing:
(a) when the complaint has been received; and
(b) any decision of the Council, Complaints Committee or
a disciplinary tribunal under this Part.
(2) The Council, the Complaints Committee or a disciplinary
tribunal must give reasons for its decision under this Part.
(3) The Secretary must send:
(a) any decision of suspension by the Council to the Chief
Justice, the Minister and the Attorney General; or
(b) any decision to dismiss a complaint by the Complaints
Committee or any decision on penalty imposed by
a disciplinary tribunal to the Chief Justice, the
Minister, the Council and the Attorney General.

47. Complaints and Investigation Committee-(1) This
section establishes the Complaints and Investigation Committee
comprising the following members appointed by the Council:
(a) a senior member of the Society, as chairperson;
(b) four (4) other members of the Society.
(2) The Council may co-opt other members of the Society to
the Committee if members of the Committee have a conflict or
possible conflict of interest in the matter to be dealt with by the
Committee.
(3) The following procedures apply at a meeting of the
Committee:
(a) the chairperson or (if the chairperson is absent) a
member elected by the members present, presides;
(b) three (3) members constitute a quorum;
(c) the chair has a deliberative vote and a casting vote;


34 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(d) a question is to be determined by majority of votes.
(4) The Committee may regulate its own procedures, subject
to this Act.
(5) The functions of the Complaints Committee are:
(a) to receive and assess all complaints referred to it by the
Council;
(b) to investigate complaints or carry out any other
inquiries necessary for the purpose of this Part;
(c) to determine a complaint to ascertain whether
it is unsatisfactory professional conduct or
professional misconduct;
(d) to lay charges and institute and conduct proceedings
before a disciplinary tribunal.

48. Further information-(1) The Complaints Committee may
give written notice of at least 10 working days to the complainant
to provide further information or verify any information by sworn
document or statutory declaration.
(2) The complainant may in writing request the Complaints
Committee to extend the 10 days to a further reasonable period
approved by the Committee.

49. Dismissal or settlement of complaints-(1) The
Complaints Committee may dismiss the complaint on any of the
following grounds:
(a) the length of time that has elapsed between the incident
that is the subject of the complaint and the date on
which the complaint was made makes investigation
of the complaint impracticable or undesirable; or
(b) the subject matter of the complaint appears to be
frivolous or vexatious, misconceived, lacking in
substance or the complaint has not been made in
good faith; or
(c) the complaint is withdrawn or settled by the
complainant; or
(d) the complainant does not have sufficient personal
interest in the subject matter of the complaint; or
(e) the complainant fails to comply with section 47; or



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 35

(f) the Committee is satisfied that its investigation report
does not provide any evidence of unsatisfactory
professional conduct or professional misconduct;
or
(g) an adequate remedy is available through other
channels.
(2) The complainant may make a fresh complaint if the
complaint is dismissed under subsection (1)(e) or, if new evidence
is produced under subsection (1)(f).
(3) If the Complaints Committee is satisfied that the complaint
is minor or relates to unsatisfactory professional conduct, the
Committee may settle the matter with the consent of the
complainant.

50. Investigation-(1) The Committee may investigate all
complaints about unsatisfactory professional conduct or
professional misconduct.
(2) As an exception to subsection (1), the Committee may
appoint:
(a) one of its members to investigate on behalf of the
Committee unsatisfactory professional conduct and
to make an investigation report to the Committee
for its consideration; or
(b) at least two (2) members to investigate, on behalf of
the Committee, professional misconduct and to
make an investigation report to the Committee for
its consideration.
(3) In carrying out an investigation, the Complaints
Committee may require the respondent:
(a) to give, in writing or personally, within a stated
reasonable time a full explanation of the matter
being investigated; or
(b) to appear at a stated reasonable time and place; or
(c) to produce within a stated reasonable time any
document in the respondent’s custody, possession
or control that the practitioner is entitled at law to
produce; or



36 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(d) to respond to the complaint, and provide any answers
to questions asked by the Committee by any
means, and any information or documents required
by the Committee.

51. Charges and prosecution-(1) When an investigation is
completed, the Complaints Committee may institute and conduct
any proceedings for unsatisfactory professional conduct or
professional misconduct before a disciplinary tribunal.
(2) The Complaints Committee may appoint any of its
members or a lawyer to undertake its powers under subsection
(1).

Division 3 - Lawyers Disciplinary Tribunals

52. Disciplinary tribunals-(1) This section establishes
lawyers disciplinary tribunals comprising the following members
appointed by the Council:
(a) for hearing and determining professional misconduct -
(i) a senior lawyer who has practised law in
Samoa or elsewhere for at least eight (8) years,
as chairperson; and
(ii) a lawyer who has practised law in
Samoa or elsewhere for at least five (5) years;
and
(iii) a member who is not a lawyer; and
(b) for hearing and determining unsatisfactory professional
conduct -
(i) a lawyer qualified under paragraph (a)(i)
or (ii), as chairperson; and
(ii) a member who is not a lawyer.
(2) In subsection (1), “lawyer” includes a retired judge.
(3) The Council must ensure that a member of a tribunal does
not have any conflict or possible conflict of interest regarding the
matter to be heard and determined.
(4) If a lawyer is charged for both professional misconduct
and unsatisfactory professional conduct, the disciplinary charges
are to be heard by a tribunal appointed under subsection (1)(a).



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 37

(5) The following procedures apply at a meeting of a tribunal:
(a) the chairperson presides;
(b) two (2) members constitute a quorum;
(c) the chair has a deliberative vote and a casting vote;
(d) a question is to be determined by majority of votes.
(6) A tribunal may regulate its own procedures subject to this
Act.

53. Powers and duties of tribunals-(1) A tribunal:
(a) may hear and determine all charges of professional
misconduct and unsatisfactory professional
conduct; or
(b) may dismiss the charge if the complaint is frivolous or
vexatious, misconceived, lacking in substance or
the complaint has not been made in good faith; or
(c) may, at any time during the proceedings, settle the
matter between the parties; or
(d) must give the respondent adequate notice of the
hearing and adequate opportunity to prepare and
state his or her defence; or
(e) may inquire into the allegations against the respondent
in any manner that it sees fit, and may regulate its
own proceedings, which must be -
(i) in accordance with the principles of
natural justice; and
(ii) open to the public, unless the tribunal
determines that special reasons exist for a
hearing to proceed (in part or in their entirety)
without the public being entitled to be present;
or
(f) must endeavour to arrive at a decision made by
consensus, subject to section 51(5)(d); or
(g) may on a charge of unsatisfactory professional conduct
make a finding that the conduct amounts to
professional misconduct, and impose a penalty
accordingly; or



38 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(h) may on a charge of professional misconduct make a
finding that the conduct amounts to unsatisfactory
professional conduct and impose a penalty
accordingly; or
(i) may impose a penalty under section 54 or 55, which
must take immediate effect.
(2) The Council must immediately take all action that is
necessary to give effect to a decision made by a tribunal.

Division 4 - Powers of inquiry and penalties

54. Powers of Commissions of Inquiry to apply - When
undertaking an investigation, inquiry or hearing under this Part,
the Complaints Committee and a disciplinary tribunal have the
powers given under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1964.

55. Penalties for unsatisfactory professional conduct-(1) A
respondent who has been found to have committed an act of
unsatisfactory professional conduct is liable to the following
penalties:
(a) the respondent’s practising certificate to be subject to a
specified condition;
(b) the respondent to undertake and complete a specified
course of further legal education;
(c) the respondent to undertake a specified period of
practice under supervision;
(d) the respondent to refrain from doing specified duties in
connection with the practice of law;
(e) to subject the respondent’s practice to periodic
inspection by a specified person for a specified
period;
(f) the respondent to make a written apology;
(g) the respondent to repay the whole or a specified part of
the amount charged for the legal services related to
the complaint;
(h) the respondent to cancel or reduce the legal fees with
respect to the services related to the complaint;



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 39

(i) the respondent to rectify, at his or her own expense, any
error or omission with respect to the services
related to the complaint;
(j) an order to pay a penalty to the Law Society not
exceeding 20 penalty units.
(2) If a respondent fails or refuses to comply with a penalty
imposed under subsection (1) within the time specified in the
decision, the respondent is taken to have committed an act of
professional misconduct and is suspended from practice by
operation of this subsection from the date of expiry of the time
specified in the decision or under subsection (3).
(3) If no time has been specified for the lawyer to comply with
any penalty imposed under subsection (1), the lawyer must
comply with it within 30 days of the penalty being imposed.

56. Penalties for professional misconduct-(1) A respondent
who has been found to have committed an act of professional
misconduct is liable to the following penalties:
(a) be censured;
(b) any penalty provided for in section 54(1);
(c) suspension from practice for a period not exceeding
five (5) years;
(d) an order not to practise law on own account until
authorised by the Council;
(e) an order to pay a penalty to the Law Society not
exceeding 50 penalty units;
(f) an order to reimburse the Law Society the costs and
expenses incurred for the purposes of this Part;
(g) an order that the respondent’s name be struck off the
roll.
(2) Section 54(2) and (3) applies to penalties imposed under
this section.
(3) A lawyer who has been suspended from practice or struck
off from the roll, and who prior to such action was a notary public
under the Notaries Public Act 1974, is immediately discharged
from that office, and may not be re-enrolled as a notary public
unless reinstated by the Council or the Supreme Court.



40 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

57. Penalties for professional misconduct involving trust
accounts-(1) Subject to subsection (4), a respondent who is found
to have committed an act of professional misconduct involving
the misuse of monies held on trust must be struck off from the
roll.
(2) A disciplinary tribunal shall fix a period during which the
respondent is ineligible to make application to the Supreme Court
to be re-instated to the roll.
(3) At the expiration of the period referred to in subsection
(2), the respondent may only be re-instated to the roll on the order
of the Supreme Court, if the respondent can satisfy the Court that
good grounds exist for the respondent to be entitled to practise
law, and the Supreme Court may impose any restrictions on the
rights to practise law that the Court regards as necessary.
(4) A tribunal may determine that a respondent who has been
found to have committed an act of professional misconduct
involving the misuse of trust account monies, to remain on the roll
if:
(a) the misuse of trust monies was inadvertent and
unintentional; and
(b) the respondent on becoming aware of the misuse
immediately repaid all monies to the trust account.
(5) If a disciplinary tribunal considers the grounds stated in
subsection (4) apply to a case before it, the tribunal may impose
any other penalty provided for in section 54(1) or 55(1).

PART VIII
MISCELLANEOUS

58. Suspension of lawyers unfit to practise law and power
to manage practice-(1) If after due inquiry the Council is
satisfied that:
(a) because of physical or mental disability a lawyer is
unable to perform his or her professional duties;
and
(b) it is in the interest of his or her clients or otherwise in
the public interest to suspend the lawyer from
practice,



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 41

the Council may make an order suspending the lawyer from
practice until the lawyer satisfies the Council that the reasons
justifying the suspension no longer exist.
(2) Regulations may prescribe the powers and procedures for
the taking over of management of a law practice under this Part.

59. Evidence of fees and overcharging-(1) If a person
engages a lawyer or a law firm, the lawyer or law firm must,
before carrying out the legal service requested by the person,
issue a letter setting the estimated legal fees and costs for the legal
service intended to be carried out.
(2) A lawyer may only charge and recover costs that are fair
and reasonable in the circumstances, taking account of the degree
of difficulty involved in the work.
(3) If costs are charged on the basis of the time worked, the
costs are to be based only on the actual time worked for the client.
(4) If in the course of carrying out the legal service, the lawyer
or the law firm is of the opinion that there will be an increase in
the fees or costs estimated under subsection (1), the lawyer or the
law firm must issue another letter setting out the increase in fees
or costs.
(5) The onus of establishing that costs charged by a lawyer are
fair and reasonable lies with the lawyer.
(6) The Council or a court may order that a portion of fees
assessed to be in excess of what is fair and reasonable be
reimbursed to the client, in addition to any other penalty imposed
under Part VII.
(7) A breach of a provision of this section is a ground for
disciplinary action under Part VII.

60. Use of “paralegal” and “law clerk”-(1) A person must
not use the terms “paralegal” or “law clerk” in the course of his or
her employment, unless the person:
(a) is employed by a lawyer under the title of “paralegal”
or “law clerk”, and is subject, during his or her
employment, to the supervision of that lawyer,
who is responsible for the work performed by the
person and for advice given during the course of
the person’s employment; or


42 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(b) uses and applies any of those terms in accordance with
regulations.
(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an
offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 50
penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one (1)
month, or both.

61. Other restricted terms-(1) No office in any government
Ministry or agency, or in any company or organisation in Samoa,
may use the term “legal officer”, “corporate lawyer”, “Manager of
Legal Services” or any other similar term which appears to
indicate that the holder of the office is authorised to practise law
in accordance with this Act, unless the holder of the office is a
lawyer and holds a relevant practising certificate under this Act.
(2) A person who:
(a) uses, or permits the use of, any of the titles referred to
in subsection (1) in breach of that provision; or
(b) employs or engages any person under a title referred to
in subsection (1) in breach of that provision,
commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not
exceeding 1,000 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding three (3) months, or both.

62. Law Society to be a party to proceedings-(1) A person
who:
(a) applies under this Act to the Supreme Court for any
order; or
(b) appeals under this Act to the Supreme Court against
any order or decision made under the authority of
this Act; or
(c) appeals to the Court of Appeal against any order or
decision of the Supreme Court made under this
Act,
must serve notice of his or her application or appeal on the
Secretary.
(2) The Law Society must be a party to any of the proceedings
referred to in subsection (1), and is entitled to be represented and
heard.



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 43

(3) For the purpose of the proceedings in subsection (2), the
Law Society has a right of appeal as a party to the Court of
Appeal.

63. Vesting of responsibilities in other regulatory
bodies-(1) If the Council fails to effectively implement the
provisions of this Act in the interests of the legal profession and in
the public interest, the Head of State, acting on the advice of
Cabinet, may order that any of the responsibilities stated in
subsection (2) be transferred from the Law Society and vested in a
Legal Profession Practice Board, or other regulatory body,
established and empowered by Regulations.
(2) The responsibilities that may be removed from the Law
Society and vested in another regulatory body under subsection
(1) include any of the following:
(a) the vetting of applicants for admission under section
25;
(b) the issuing of certificates under section 25;
(c) the audit of trust accounts and the enforcement of
obligations under Part VI;
(d) the issuing of practising certificates;
(e) any aspect of the disciplinary processes vested in the
Council under Part VII;
(f) the making of Rules.

64. Exemption of liability-(1) This section applies to the
following:
(a) the Head of State;
(b) the Minister;
(c) a member of the Council;
(d) the Registrar;
(e) the Secretary;
(f) a member of the Complaints Committee or a disciplinary
tribunal;
(g) any other person authorised to carry out any function,
duty or power under this Act.
(2) A person to whom this section applies is not personally
liable for carrying out or failing to carry out, in good faith a
function, duty or power under this Act.


44 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

65. Regulations-(1) The Head of State, acting on the advice
of Cabinet, may make regulations for the purpose of giving effect
to the provisions of this Act, and in particular regulations in
relation to the following:
(a) any matter for which regulations are contemplated by
this Act;
(b) any arrangement for the recognition of reciprocal
admission with lawyers in other jurisdictions;
(c) any other requirements to secure compliance with
international agreements and arrangements in
Samoa relating to rights of trade and commerce,
and to the provision of professional services;
(d) any arrangement which permit law firms to incorporate
as companies or other entities, and any
prohibitions, restrictions or requirements that apply
to such arrangements;
(e) any requirement applying to the application of funds
held by the Society from the issue of practising
certificates, including the giving of financial
support for -
(i) programmes of continuing education;
(ii) schemes for legal aid and for the
provision of community legal services;
(iii) any fidelity fund established for the
purposes of compensating clients of lawyers
who have misused trust funds;
(f) any procedures and obligations for the review of legal
costs charged by lawyers, and the remedies
available to clients who may have been over-
charged;
(g) matters relating to overcharging of legal fees and costs
on mortgages and other securities document;
(h) any arrangements for using interest payable on trust
accounts held by lawyers, including the use of such
funds for any purpose specified in paragraph (e);
(i) any requirements for lawyers to maintain indemnity
insurance, and arrangements for the provision of
such insurance under arrangements approved by
the Law Society;


2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 45

(j) any fees to be paid by lawyers on admission and for
practising certificates to support law library
services or any other prescribed purpose;
(k) prescribing a solicitor’s remuneration scale where the
Minister is not satisfied that appropriate measures
have been made;
(l) the auditing of trust accounts, including auditing of
trust accounts by an independent auditor based on
a complaint about any trust account;
(m) the production to the auditor of books, papers, and
accounts, subject to such conditions as are
prescribed;
(n) the persons to whom the reports of auditors must be
sent for inspection, information, or record;
(o) any obligations of confidentiality to be observed by the
auditor to preserve solicitor/client relations, and
the grounds upon which such obligations are not to
apply;
(p) any payment of the auditor’s fees by the solicitor;
(q) any other matter to ensure that all trust accounts are
duly kept and audited, and that persons beneficially
entitled to money and securities held by solicitors
upon trust have full information in relation to such
matters;
(r) prescribing the powers and procedures for the taking
over of management of a law practice;
(s) any procedures and other functions, duties and powers
of the Complaints Committee or disciplinary
tribunals;
(t) regulating paralegals and law clerks, including the
following -
(i) imposing obligations on lawyers
employing or engaging paralegals and law
clerks to supervise their work and activities,
and to be legally responsible for them;
(ii) establishing councils or associations, or
vesting authority in any Council, to regulate
paralegals and law clerks by implementing



46 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

procedures of registration, discipline and any
other matter necessary for the effective
regulation of their employment or activities;
(iii) recognising associations of paralegals
and law clerks, and vesting in them
responsibilities and powers in relation to the
regulation of persons undertaking such
employment and activities;
(iv) prescribing the qualifications, expertise
or training necessary for a person to be
registered as paralegals and law clerks, and to
continue to be so registered;
(v) determining matters of professional
practice, and adopting and enforcing
professional standards;
(vi) prescribing matters relating to the
registration of paralegals and law clerks which
are consistent with this Act;
(vii) prescribing offences relating to the
employment and activities of paralegals and
law clerks.
(2) The breach of any regulation relating to trust accounts is
professional misconduct.
(3) Offences for regulations made for the purpose of this Act
may prescribe a fine not exceeding 1,000 penalty units or
imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months, or both.

66. Repeal and amendments-(1) The Law Practitioners Act
1976 is repealed.
(2) A reference in a law, instrument or document to:
(a) the repealed Act is taken to be a reference to this Act;
and
(b) any terminology, office or title used in the repealed
Act is taken to be a reference to the equivalent
term, office of title used under this Act,
and that law, instrument or document is taken to be amended
accordingly.



2014, No. 21 Lawyers and Legal Practice 47

67. Saving and transitional provisions-(1) All lawyers
currently admitted as barristers or solicitors under the repealed
Act continue as if they were admitted as barristers and solicitors
under this Act. However, the Registrar must enter the names of
those lawyers into the permanent or temporary roll of barristers
and solicitors under this Act.
(2) The members of the Council elected or officers and
committee appointed under the repealed Act continue as if they
were elected or appointed under this Act until their terms expire or
they are removed or terminated under this Act.
(3) All practising certificates issued under the repealed Act
must continue to have full force and effect until 31 December
following the commencement of this Act, and after that date the
Secretary must ensure that all lawyers hold appropriate practising
certificates.
(4) All disciplinary proceedings commenced under the
repealed Act continue as if they were instituted and proceeded
with under this Act with any necessary modifications to the
investigations, charges and hearings to comply with Part VII of
this Act.
(5) At the commencement of this Act, no complaint shall be
made in respect of any ground of unsatisfactory professional
conduct or professional misconduct that was not a ground for such
conduct or misconduct before the commencement of this Act.
(6) All penalties pending for execution imposed under the
repealed Act continue if they were imposed under and subject to
execution under this Act. However, the failure by a lawyer to
comply with a pending penalty imposed under the repealed Act is
professional misconduct for the purposes of Part VII of this Act.
(7) Regulations or Rules made under the repealed Act
concerning the trust accounts of solicitors continue as if they were
made under this Act until amended or replaced by Regulations or
Rules made under this Act.
(8) The Rules of Professional Conduct of Barristers and
Solicitors of Samoa made, or purported to have been made under
the repealed Act continue as if they were made under this Act
until they are amended or replaced by Rules made under section 7
of this Act.



48 Lawyers and Legal Practice 2014, No. 21

(9) At the commencement of this Act, any fees prescribed
under section 30 of the Law Practitioners Act 1976 continue and
are validated under this section as if they were made under section
29 of this Act.

__________
The Lawyers and Legal Practice Act 2014
is administered by the Office of the Attorney General.