A reform is looming in the legal sector. Lawyers and other legal representatives will now be required to follow a “Continuing Professional Development Programme” (CPDP). This continuing education will last 12 hours annually, including at least two hours on the ethics of the profession. The aim is not only to allow lawyers to regularly deepen their knowledge but also to adapt to legislative and jurisprudential developments. To support this reform, adjustments will be made to the Law Practitioners Act and the Institute of Legal Studies Act.

“Education has always been a good thing,” responds lawyer Penny Hack. But he expresses reservations about the rigidity of the law. “I am in favor of the CPDP. But I find this law a little inflexible in its application. In terms of ethics, there is already a code in force,” he says.

According to Penny Hack, a comprehensive guide that every lawyer could consult should have been created. “We also need to offer other options, not just courses. We could have invited lawyers to provide theses and other critiques, which could serve as a CPDP,” continues the lawyer.

He points out that the court system already exists but has not yet been codified. “How will this work in practice? Lawyers are often in court to represent their clients. A well-thought-out mechanism is needed,” he explains.

For his part, Me Ravi Rutnah believes that the CPDP “is a good thing. Lawyers must be updated in the law. It is the same in all professions, both in Mauritius and around the world.” The law, he points out, is not static. “It is constantly evolving. There are many developments in various fields, such as cybercrime and artificial intelligence. If we do not know these laws, it will be difficult to debate cases in Court,” he acknowledges.

Mr Ravi Rutnah also suggests that foreign speakers be called upon to deliver specific sessions, thus enabling Mauritian lawyers to develop the country's laws in a global context. “Twelve hours of classes per year is not nothing,” he adds. What about the two hours of ethics classes? “Ethics is important for all lawyers,” he replies.

The Bar Council, through Me Robin Ramburn, explains that this obligation of continuing education already exists informally. “Those who fail to follow the 12-hour training receive correspondence from the office of the chief judge and must explain themselves. So much the better if the obligation to follow the training will now be formalized. The world of law evolves every day and we must be up to date. I fully agree with this measure,” he says.

However, he believes there are other priorities, such as the process of transcribing trials. Quite often, he continues, trials are delayed due to a lack of transcripts. “This is a situation that deserves to be resolved,” says Robin Ramburn.

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