FR petition against decision to incorporate law firm

Published : 12:14 am  January 17, 2019 | No comments so far |  | 

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  • Registrar-General of Companies, Baqian Law Group, AG named respondents

 

A Fundamental Rights (FR) petition has been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) challenging the decision of the Registrar-General of Companies to incorporate a limited liability company (LLC) which purports to provide legal services in Sri  Lanka. 

 

In the petition filed on January 16, in addition to the Registrar-General of Companies, Chinese law firm Baqian Law Group Lanka (Pvt) Limited and the Attorney General (AG) are named as respondents. The petition has been filed by Attorney at Law Nayantha Wijesundara. The petitioner said legal professional services could be provided only by natural persons who, by virtue of being members of a noble profession, were personally liable for their services. However, companies have limited liability only. 


The petition also said that in terms of the Supreme Court rules that apply to Attorneys at Law, there were many restrictions placed on lawyers with regard to touting and advertising. But as Baqian Law Group is not regulated by the Supreme Court, it would be able to freely engage in advertising in providing legal services. 


The petition states in these circumstances the petitioner is denied equal protection of the law in terms of Article 12(1) and the petitioner is also discriminated against in violation of rights guaranteed under Article 12(2) of the Constitution. The petitioner also claims that by incorporating a private liability company, the Registrar-General of Companies had also violated the petitioner’s right to freely engage in a lawful profession guaranteed by Article 14(1)(g) of the Constitution. 

The petition states that given the valuable service the legal profession provides society, and given the negative repercussions of allowing a limited liability company to provide such services, the Fundamental Rights application was filed in the public interest. 

 

Many restrictions on lawyers with regard to touting and advertising

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