The right to legal representation was the topic of the second Constitution Round Table discussion held on Friday 17 June 2022 at the auditorium of the Palais de Justice building, gathering attorneys and pupils, law students, members of various local organisations involved in overseeing and upholding the law, as well as members of the media.
According to the Constitution of Seychelles, every person who is charged with an offence has the right to be defended before the court in person, or, at the person’s own expense by a legal practitioner of the person’s own choice, or, where the law so provides, by a legal practitioner provided at public expenses.
The event was the opportunity to discuss pertinent topics with a selected panel of practicing legal professionals – made up of Chief Justice Rony Govinden, president of the Bar Association of Seychelles Divino Sabino, private lawyers Nisha Allear and Ryan Laporte, representative of the Attorney General’s Office Stefan Knights and pupil Priyanka Ramruchaya.
These pertinent topics included; how we ensure lawyers follow certain ethics and codes of conduct, the high cost of lawyer fees and how that affects every day persons, legal aid, and also on the increase in lawyers being prosecuted in criminal cases and what happens to their career once this happens.
It was also the opportunity to assess whether the current reputation and practices of the legal profession are up to standard to meet people’s rights adequately, and also see how the current quality of legal representation available in Seychelles affects persons going to court, and the outcomes of their cases.