The Samoa Office of the Attorney General has issued a press statement in response to news reports that staff lawyers had been warned to not air public opinions on the recent amendment bills now being widely debated across Samoa and abroad.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, the Lands and Titles Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020, have passed their first and second reading in Parliament, and are now before a Special Parliamentary Select Committee to consider public submissions.
A statement from the Office of the AG currently being led by Acting Attorney General Galumalemana Loretta Teueli says the local media had referred to an internal office meeting and as lawyers, the Government of Samoa is their client protected under ethical principals of confidentiality.
Media Statement Issued 8 May 2020
“We refer to the article titled “Acting A.G silent on lawyers’ criticism threat” in the Samoa Observer Friday, 08 May 2020%.
“The article refers to a meeting conducted by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to discuss internal matters”
“As lawyers of the Government, employed in the OAG, all OAG lawyers have an ethical solicitor–client duty to the Government (our employer) to ensure that the information and instructions in our possession are secure”.
“This is an ethical duty required of us under our legal practitioner’s code of ethics. Therefore we cannot comment any further regarding the subject matter of the said article. To continue would be in breach of that duty”.