LAWYER SHORTAGE IN SOLOMON ISLANDS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (February 2, 1999 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---A shortage of lawyers has forced the Public Solicitor's Office in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, to stop taking on any new cases for the next three months.

Public Solicitor Patrick Lavery said, since December, four lawyers have resigned from the office while only one replacement has been recruited.

Currently, he noted, only three solicitors are available to handle work previously done by six lawyers and two supporting staff.

Lavery also said the office does not have enough equipment and stationery.

During the workload freeze over the next three months, exceptions will be made for people facing serious criminal charges, especially those in custody, and work for the protection of children and other urgent matters, Lavery stressed.

The Department of Justice and Legal Affairs is helping the office address the staffing difficulties.

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