The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mama Fatima Singhateh has said that lawyers should never regard difficulties and challenges as disadvantage, rather they should view them as opportunities that need to be handled with maturity and professionalism.
The AG was speaking on Thursday at the enrollment ceremony of 33 new lawyers to the Gambian Bar. The ceremony was held at the judiciary complex in Banjul under the auspices of the General Legal Council and was attended by the Chief Justice of The Gambia, judges of the superior courts, legal practitioners and the families of the newly qualified lawyers, amongst others.
Minister Singhateh said the roles played by lawyers in society are often very difficult. “At times and most often it puts them at difficult situations with either the state or among themselves, and sometimes they end up in positions that they never envisioned”. She howerver noted that how they deal with those situations would determine the type of lawyers they will be.
She described the legal profession is a noble one and that the enrollment to the bar is a rare gift that must be cherished and appreciated, “as it is an opportunity of great achievement if made good use of”.
The Justice Minister therefore urged the new lawyers to represent clients fearlessly with honesty and integrity and ensure that no matter how tough the situation is in court they never leave their clients stranded.
She further advised that their responsibility to the court as ministers in the temple of justice is to protect the dignity of the court and the person of the judge, as well as show professional courtesy as a representative of the justice they are instructed to stand and advocate for.
The Chief Justice, Emmanuel Fagbenle, told the newly enrolled legal practitioners that some foundations have been laid and they are required to build on these foundations. However, he was quick to appeal that they should build something that can endure and add to the legacy on the ground and add value to the profession.
According to him, skeptics had thought that The Gambia Law School cannot survive “but by thinking outside of the box, by collaborating and working together and making all the necessary adjustments, the School is producing a great number of graduates every year to beef up the judicial system of The Gambia”.
Senior lawyer and former president of The Gambia Bar Association, Sheriff Marie Tambedou, told the new lawyers that their learning begins now and the best way to learn is to be hard working, cautious, patient and respectful.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Yankuba Sonko, who is part of the enrolled lawyers, delivered the vote of thanks.
by Fatou Sowe