The Bar Council of the Maldives was established under Law No: 5/2019 (Legal Profession Act, hereinafter referred to as ‘LPA 2019’), which came into effect on 27 June 2019. The much-needed reform of the Maldivian legal profession was initiated with the passage of the aforesaid law and for the first time, created a unified, self-regulating Bar Council in the Maldives. It is a key target of the legal sector reform initiatives of the Government that the bar council will develop competency of the members of the profession, ensure freedom to practice without being threatened by any individual or organizations, prevent unfair disciplinary action against lawyers, ensure access to legal services in both central and rural areas of the Maldives, and enhance public trust in the legal and justice system.
Under the LPA 2019, the Bar Council of the Maldives (BCM) is responsible to regulate the legal profession and provide services to its members by laying down the standards of professional conduct and disciplinary matters, ensuring its implementation, issuing licenses to practice law, promoting legal education and laying down standards of legal education, providing essential trainings and continuing legal education, professional development to practicing lawyers, promoting and supporting law reform, ensuring the delivery of quality legal services while protecting the interests of clients, sustaining public confidence in the profession, upholding the integrity and independence of the profession, and supporting the State authorities in facilitating legal aid for those accused of serious criminal offences
Since its establishment, the BCM has made remarkable strides towards achieving the goals set in the LPA. Most noteworthy of our achievements to date include, conducting a profile of the legal profession survey in 2020, establishing minimum standards for qualifying law degrees (2020), establishing the bylaws on licensing, rules governing disciplinary proceedings, and provision of legal services such as attestation, notarization, registration of law firms and legal practices at the BCM. Furthermore, to create a strong, effective, and fully independent legal profession, the BCM is currently working to develop and administer the first national bar exam, and programs of continuing legal education, as well as a Clearing House to initiate a holistic and sustainable legal aid service in the Maldives and create a culture of pro bono legal service in the country.