Senior lawyer cited ahead of Tribunal
The Samoa Law Society (S.L.S.) has confirmed that senior lawyer, Maiava Visekota Peteru, has been cited ahead of an appearance before a tribunal next month.
The Law Society supervises the training of barristers and solicitors, but also regulates lawyers’ qualifications and conduct.
“This is very delicate,” said the President of S.L.S., Leiataualesa Komisi Koria, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
In April 2019, Maiava was suspended and, at the time, Leiataualesa said the Council of the Samoa Law Society had received complaints from members of the public about her as a practitioner.
During an interview outside of the courthouse on Friday, Leiataualesa confirmed that a Tribunal process will be completed by the end of the month, but declined to say where the tribunal will be held.
Maiava in an email said that she hopes to settle this matter soon.
“I will respond to any allegations by the Samoa Law Society Council and appreciate that matters can be settled shortly,” she said.
She also paid tribute to those who had provided her with support throughout a testing time.
“I appreciate the support of my family, Church and community during this time,” she said.
Leiataulesa declined to point out exactly what the accusation levelled against her was other than confirming its existence.
“Any charges of the Samoa Law Society are based on the offences in our act; there are only two offences,” the organisation’s President said.
“One is unsatisfactory of professional conduct and official misconduct and it’s either or”.
In April last year, Maiava, a former Member of Parliament, has been practising law for decades.
"I have dedicated the past 35 years of my life to the practise of law in Samoa and intend to follow the Law Society processes with a view to remedy this interim suspension,” she said.
As reported earlier, Leiataualesa, the Samoa Law Society President has presided over a very active Complaints and Investigation Committee, established to regulate members’ conduct.
“The complaints referred to above have been referred to this committee,” he said.
“The investigation process will involve the practitioner being given an opportunity to respond to the complaints before any determinations are made.
“In the interim, the Council has issued a temporary suspension pending the determination of the matter.”