Tripoli, 28 April:
A number of lawyers protested in front of the NTC headquarters in Tripoli on Thursday against moves to integrate . . .[restrict]them into the justice ministry. They are from the Public Defence Lawyers Group (“Muhama Shaabia”), from which lawyers are appointed by the state to defend Libyans in court at government expense.
Under a new ruling voted by the NTC, the group, currently under the authority of the High Commission for Judgement would be integrated into the justice ministry.
Currently, Muhama Shaabia lawyers although salaried by the government can also take on private clients. They will no longer be able to do so working for the ministry. Additionally, the High Commission for Judgement is also in charge of judges and prosecutors. As such, it is relatively easy for the lawyers to move on and become a prosecutor and then a judge. Now that they are being hived off to the ministry this fast track route to becoming judge will no longer be available. They will have go down a separate route —applying to the Judges Institution and then being rigorously evaluated.
Fawzia Abu Esbah, one of protestors, said “We will not be able to become judges or prosecutors because of this new legislation.”
She added that such decisions should not be made until after elections when a proper government and legislature was in place.