The General Legal Council (GLC), the statutory body mandated to regulate the conduct of lawyers in Sierra Leone, has issued a stern statement condemning the gross misconduct displayed by legal practitioners at the recently concluded Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA).

The AGM, held on May 17-18, 2024, in Kenema, has been marred by reports of inappropriate behavior by some attending lawyers.

An emergency meeting was convened by the Council on Thursday, May 24, 2024, during which Madam Tuma Adama Jabbie, representing the Council members, voiced severe disapproval and concern over the incidents. The Council strongly condemned the misconduct, labeling it as a direct violation of the legal profession’s codes of conduct and ethical standards.

The Council’s statement highlighted the gravity of the misconduct observed in Kenema, which not only involved physical altercations but also unruly behavior that culminated in a disturbance of public order. The statement noted the involvement of legal practitioners in acts of violence, deemed utterly unbecoming of their professional and social responsibilities.

In a bid to address these violations, the GLC has established an investigation committee consisting of five members. This committee is tasked with investigating the events at the AGM and recommending appropriate disciplinary actions against those found responsible. The members of this investigative committee are:

Justice Tonia Barnette (JA) – Chair
Ibrahim Sorie Yillah Esq – Member
Chukwu Emeka Taylor Esq – Member
Musa Mewa Esq – Member
Kadija Zainab Bangura (Ms.) – Member & Secretary

The GLC emphasized its commitment to maintaining the highest standards of legal practice in Sierra Leone, reaffirming that misconduct of any form would not be tolerated. The Council reminded legal practitioners that they are bound by the Legal Practitioners Act, 2000, and the Codes of Conduct, 2010, which explicitly dictate the professional and ethical behavior expected of them.

The Council’s statement also included a reminder to all legal practitioners about the necessity of upholding good conduct not only in their professional capacities but also in their personal lives, including their activities on social media platforms. Section 2 of the Legal Practitioners Code of Conduct, 2010, was cited to reiterate that every legal practitioner must uphold the dignity and high standing of the profession at all times.