Lawyers are professional people trained in the law. You may seek their help to solve your problems. They are independent people and any information given to them is confidential and can only be released with your consent. Though a lawyer’s main duty is to protect your interest, he is also an officer of the Court and must not mislead the court or assist you in any way to break the law. He is bound by a strict code of conduct and rules of etiquette.
WHEN YOU MAY WISH TO SEE A LAWYER
Generally you may wish to see a lawyer to :
- Get advice on a legal problem
- Represent you in court, if necessary
- Assist you in the handling of your legal rights.
You may therefore wish to see lawyer, in particular:
- When you are charged with a criminal offence, to seek advice on matters relating to your defence, and to represent you in court.
- When you wish to make a claim against another party you can ask a lawyer to file a claim for you and to represent you in court.
- When some other party has unfairly filed a claim against you in Court, you may wish to seek the help of a lawyer to defend the claim.
When you are in doubt over any matter relating to the law, it is advisable to consult a lawyer. This is for your own protection. Also, taking legal advice at an early stage could save you a lot of time, trouble and money.
SERVICES OFFERED BY LAWYERS
Lawyers can provide you with a variety of important and useful services. Some of the services provided by them are:
- To recover money owed to you.
- To advise you if you were involved in a traffic accident, in making a claim, as well as protecting yourself against claims from other parties.
- To advise you in a matrimonial dispute relating such as separation, divorce, maintenance and custody of children.
- To advice you on the procedures involved and conduct searches when buying & selling property or tenancies & taking loans.
- To advise you before you sign any important business or employment contract.
- To apply to court to enable the assets of the deceased to be dealt with, after a family member has passed away.
- To make a will so that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes after your death.
- To change your name
- To adopt a child
- Before you start a business or incorporate a company.
- To find out your legal rights in any matter.
HOW TO LOOK FOR LAWYERS
Lawyers are not allowed to advertise but the Bar Council publishes a directory of lawyers which contains names, addresses and other relevant information of all practicing lawyers in Malaysia.
The names, addresses and telephone numbers of lawyers and their firms can be found in the telephone directory.
Another method of choosing a lawyer is by personal recommendation of friends, colleagues and relatives.
SEEING A LAWYER
If your first contact with your lawyer is by telephone, inform him of your reason for consulting him/her and then make an appointment to see him/her.
At the meeting, bring along with you all relevant documents and give your lawyer all the necessary information. It would be helpful to write down all the questions you would like to ask your lawyer.
If you wish, you may also ask your lawyer about the amount of work involved and how long your matter would take.
Remember: Lawyers are there to assist and advice.
The fees payable by you will generally depend on the amount of work done on your behalf, the time taken and the difficulty of the work involved. In some cases, the fees payable by you are fixed by law e.g. the buying and selling of property.
It is common for lawyers to ask you to place a deposit with them before they begin work on your behalf. You can request for a receipt for any money placed by you with a lawyer.
Always feel free to discuss the question of fees with your lawyer. This is to avoid misunderstanding. If you are unhappy with the fees charged to you, discuss the matter with your lawyer first. If the matter cannot be resolved, you may ask your lawyer to arrange for his bill to be taxed i.e. decided by the court.
If there is a need for you to see a lawyer but you cannot afford to pay his fees, you may seek help from a Legal Aid Centre run by the Bar Council. The Legal Aid Centre in Kuala Lumpur is situated at:
Tingkat 6, Wisma Kraftangan,
No.9, Jalan Tun Perak,
50050 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2691 3005, 2693 2072 Fax: 2693 0527
Legal Aid Centres are located in most cities and towns in Peninsular Malaysia.
The Centres provide representation for all criminal matters for all those who qualify except offences that carry capital punishment (i.e. death and life sentence) and render legal assistance for all civil matters except matters relating to recovery of debts and motor accident claims.
The Government also runs a Legal Aid Scheme for people who need legal assistance but cannot afford to pay fees. The Government Legal Aid Bureau has offices in all major cities and towns in Malaysia and their office at Kuala Lumpur is situated at:
Biro Bantuan Guaman,
Tingkat 1, Wisma Cyclecarry
Jalan Raja Laut, 50504 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 2694 2700 Fax: 2694 0040
The Legal Aid Bureau renders assistance in most legal matters for those who qualify except legal representation for criminal cases.
It should be noted that a person seeking legal aid has to pass a strict Means Test to qualify for assistance from either the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre or the Government Legal Aid Bureau. You will be required to give information on your income, savings and property owned.
The Bar Council is the governing body for lawyers practicing in Peninsular Malaysia. It sets the standard of professional conduct which layers have to follow. If you are unhappy with services provided by your lawyer, you should first try to sort it out with him, as the problem may be the result of a misunderstanding or a breakdown in communication. If this is not possible you may wish to write to the Bar Council for assistance.
The address of the Bar Council is:
No. 13, 15 &17, Leboh Pasar Besar,
50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2031 3003
Fax: 03-2026 1313, 2034 2825, 2072 5818