The Cambodian Bar Association said yesterday it is preparing to file a complaint with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court against an American who allegedly acted as a lawyer in Cambodia without the association’s approval.
According to President Chiv Songhak, the association decided to file a lawsuit against David Haskel, a legal counsel to Cambodian law firm BNG Legal, according to the firm’s website.
“The Bar’s meeting last week decided to sue him at the court for illegally practicing [a legal] profession in Cambodia,” Mr Songhak said.
According to articles 1, 4, 5 and 6 of the Cambodian Law on the Bar, foreign lawyers may only practice their profession in Cambodia with the approval of the Bar Association of Cambodia.
Except for foreign lawyers working at the hybrid court of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, the association does not allow foreign lawyers to practice in Cambodian courts, Mr Songhak said, adding that four members of the council of the association had been assigned to work on the case.
One of the four, Ros Monin, said the legal action was taken at the request of lawyer Som Chomrong, who represented four former Radio Free Asia reporters in a labor dispute case at the Arbitration Council of Cambodia.
Mr Monin said Mr Chomrong had complained that Mr Haskel was representing the RFA president as a professional lawyer in the case in December 2009 at the Arbitration Council.
Mr Haskel could not be reached yesterday for comment.
In a letter dated Jan 29, 2010, obtained yesterday, Mr Haskel wrote to the association to inform them that in legal documents submitted by BNG Legal to the Arbitration Council, it was “incorrectly” stated that he was working as an attorney for RFA.
He wrote that he had explained the “mistake” to the arbitrators, who had excused him, and added that he no longer represented RFA in the case.