It would seem utterly unobjectionable that a regulatory reform should:
- stop a local law society being the body which licenses lawyers and instead reserves that role to the government,
- stop the prohibition of non members of the local law club being able to practice the law, and,
- stop the practice whereby the local law club was the body which heard complaints against its own members replacing that process with a government appointed commission.
Many countries would dearly love to be able to clean out lawyers’ trade unions and bolster competition through introducing this minimum of level playing fields. But when Fiji does it, the outcry from the lawyers (obviously to be expected just as taxi drivers railed against deregulation) is joined by others claiming a lack of “democracy”.
One hesitates of course to endorse the Fijian method but it is a good deal more awkward to object to the goal. It perhaps says plenty about such closed shops as law societies that matters have to get to the Fijian extreme in order to remove the privilege enjoyed by this group when looking after its own.