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Lawyers to throw the book at accountants
The Bar Association yesterday decided to take legal action against accountancy firms which are allegedly involved in what is seen as the improper practice of bypassing legal procedures.

BASL Secretary Kalinga Indatissa speaking after a Bar Council meeting yesterday said that in most cases the services of young lawyers had been used by accountancy firms to endorse major contracts without following proper legal procedures and minimal fees were being paid to those lawyers.

He said the Bar Council had appointed a top-level committee to work out plans to file action against the accountancy firms. The Committee headed by BASL Deputy President Ikram Mohamed would include Romesh de Silva, PC, Chandra Seneviratne, PC, K. Neelakandan, Hemantha Warnakulasuriya and Upul Jayasuriya.

Mr. Indatissa said action would be filed under an ordinance whereby it was prohibited to receive any gratification for procuring employment as a legal practitioner. The ordinance also laid down that it was illegal to retain or withhold any gratification of the remuneration to be paid to a legal practitioner.

Mr. Indatissa said there was evidence that some major accountancy firms enlisted the services of young lawyers into their legal departments and got them to sign various contracts, thereby bypassing the procedures.

Mr. Jayasuriya who raised the issue at yesterday's Bar Council meeting said some of the accountancy firms were acting improperly and it was affecting the legal profession.

He said some of the legal departments of the state institutions were also responsible for handing over some of the duties to the accountancy firms which obtained the services of few lawyers and completed the contracts thereby intruding into the legal profession.

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