Maldivian Lawyers Successfully Complete the Foundation’s online course on Professional Ethics for Lawyers

This online course has been developed and implemented by the Foundation in cooperation with the Bar Council of the Maldives.

In cooperation with the Bar Council of the Maldives, the Max Planck Foundation has developed an online course entitled, “Ethics for Lawyers” with live engagement on the Foundation’s LEARN platform from 28 to 30 June 2020. The course aimed to increase the knowledge of the participants on ethical standards for lawyers and encourage reflection on the role of lawyers in relation to ethics. Over 50 lawyers and law graduates, including State lawyers, private lawyers attended the online course.

This course was developed in the Maldives during a pertinent period for the development of ethics for lawyers in the country. In June 2019, the Legal Professions Act was adopted, which established particular ethical principles for lawyers in law, created the Bar Council of the Maldives and its Ethics Committee, and mandated the Bar Council to formulate a Code of Conduct for Lawyers.

The course commenced with presentations by the Foundation’s Research Fellows on key ethical standards in international and domestic law, namely the IBA International Principles on Conduct for the Legal Profession and the Maldivian Legal Profession Act. Key ethical principles for lawyers were addressed in detail, including independence, integrity and avoiding conflicts of interest amongst others, as well as considering ethics for lawyers when using social media in an online workbook. The participants applied these principles to practical factual scenarios and discussed them in forums on LEARN with Research Fellows. This was complemented by a podcast where the Foundation’s Research Fellows discussed how ethical principles apply in practice, and ethical dilemmas that may arise.

Finally, on 30 June 2020, the course was concluded with an engaging live video conference with local Experts, Ms Dheebanaz Fahmy, Former Deputy Prosecutor General and practicing lawyer and Mr Mohamed Aseel Hassan, Executive Committee Member of the Bar Council of the Maldives. In her motivating presentation, Ms Fahmy highlighted the evolution of ethics for lawyers in the Maldives and stressed the importance of ethics in forming public trust and legitimacy in the legal system. Mr Hassan eloquently enunciated on the development of ethics under the Legal Profession Act and the work of the Bar Council. During the video conference, both Mr Hassan and Ms Fahmy addressed difficult questions from participants about ethical dilemmas in legal practice, including that avoiding conflict of interest in a small legal community and challenges associated with other legal actors.

The “Ethics for Lawyers” course is the first in a series of three online courses for lawyers in cooperation with the Bar Council of the Maldives. The following courses will take place from 1 to 9 July 2020 on the LEARN platform and will address “Fair Trial Rights for Lawyers” and “Strategic Litigation”. This series of activities is implemented through the partnership with the Bar Council of the Maldives as part of the German Federal Foreign Office funded project, “Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Maldives”.