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Fiji Time: 7:35 AM on Sunday 20 April

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You can't 'be unfit for the job'

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, February 08, 2014

CHIEF Justice Anthony Gates reminded 23 new lawyers of the importance of the oath they took as they were admitted to the bar yesterday.

Justice Gates said the new lawyers had each taken an oath that would remind them of their duties as a legal practitioner.

"For all of us private practice demands a high degree of focus, commitment to duties, time, and a clear mind," he said.

"If you have over-indulged in alcohol or yaqona mid-week you will not be able to direct an alert mind to your client's complex problems.

"You must be disciplined. Would we feel safe in the hands of a sleepy hung-over surgeon or airline pilot?

"You will learn that you cannot afford to be unfit for the job. All of you have commenced the study of ethics.

In a phrase that is about what is the right thing to do professionally. Study all of the cases that have come out of the Independent Legal Services Commission.

"Avoid those errors. You must have a trust account when you practise. Do not tell silly stories as to why you need an adjournment.

"Be upfront and frank with the court. Be candid. Sometimes as lawyers, after all we are human, we make an elementary error, such as we have not done what we had promised we would do by the adjournment date.

"Be straightforward and admit it. Invariably such honesty blows the judge's anger away, and we all move on and get back on track.

"At times in court some of you may not always be fluent or articulate.

"Do not be over anxious about this, you will get better."