A lawyer found guilty of two counts of professional misconduct was today suspended from practice till March 1, 2015 by the Independent Legal Services Commission.
Luseyani Ligabalavu, 55, was also told by the Commission that at the completion of her suspension she will only be granted her practicing certificate if she meets the Registrar’s usual conditions.
Ligabalavu, has also been ordered by ILSC’s Commissioner, Justice Paul Madigan to pay a complainant Joeli Tudrau a sum of $200, being the amount outstanding from the order of the Chief Registrar on December 6, 2011.
Ligabalavu was guilty of failing to respond to a complaint by the Chief Registrar and she also failed to attend an arbitration hearing scheduled by the Chief Registrar in respect to another complaint.
According to a statement from ILSC, failure to respond to the Registrar is not only in direct contravention to the stipulation in Section 105 of the Legal Practitioners Decree but is also showing complete disdain and disregard for the authority of head of the regulatory arm of the profession.
Passing the Judgement, Justice Madigan said, “Should such practice go unchecked then the profession would become totally unmanageable with the public then being unprotected and the spirit of the legislation being defeated.”
Ligabalavu’s respondent, Alofa Seruvatu submitted that Ligabalavu had a long career in the Civil Service and has worked for the Department of Health and the Attorney General’s office.
Ligabalavu expressed deep remorse and asked for another chance, suggesting that a fine best befits the transgression.
The Registrar in reply submitted that as a very senior public servant she should have been aware that expectations of her behaviour are very high and that she should know better than to ignore those in authority.
By Indrani Krishna