FOR ATTORNEYS AND TRIAL COUNSELORS
TO PRACTICE IN
THE POHNPEI SUPREME COURT
Section 1. Authority. Pursuant to the authority granted to the Pohnpei Supreme Court by Article 10 (Judiciary), Section 10 (Rules) of the Pohnpei Constitution, the Rules of Admission herein prescribed for Attorneys and Trial Counselors to Practice In The Pohnpei Supreme Court are hereby adopted and promulgated.
Section 2. Statement of Policy. In developing a Pohnpeian legal system which we the peoples of Pohnpei can appreciate and claim to be an autonomous legal system, the Pohnpei Supreme Court upholds the responsibility endowed upon the peoples of this state as expressed in the preamble of the Constitution of Pohnpei to wit, "that we accept without hesitation the challenge and responsibility to serve as the guardians of our people and islands, both now and in the future; to protect and uphold the inalienable rights of our people; to protect and maintain the heritage and traditions of each of our islands; and to protect and promote the harmony and prosperity of all the people of Pohnpei". Admission of attorneys and trial counselors to practice law in Pohnpei will be carefully scrutinized to ensure that those persons admitted understand, and demonstrate a strong conviction and willingness to support and uphold this State policy.
Section 3. Repealer and Effective date. The standards of Admission For Attorneys and Trial Counselors To Practice In The Courts of the Pohnpei State promulgated under Section 24 of the Pohnpei Judiciary Act of 1982 (2L-160-82) are hereby repealed and substituted for by these Rules.
Except as provided under Section 5(a), these Rules of Admission come into effect at midnight, April 1, 1985.
Section 4. Definitions. For the purposes of these admission rules, an "attorney" is a person who has graduated from an accredited law school, intends to practice law and is admitted to practice law as such in Pohnpei State, in accordance with these rules.
A "trial counselor" is a person of demonstrated legal ability obtained through at least four years of experience actually representing clients in and out of court situations as an advocate, or working under the supervision of an attorney in a law office, or working as a court officer in a court having similar jurisdiction to or greater than that which is possessed by the Pohnpei Supreme Court, or through private self studies and who intends to practice law and is admitted to practice law as such in Pohnpei State, in accordance with these Rules. (The Pohnpei Supreme Court shall, in its discretion, determine whether a trial counselor meets the "demonstrated legal ability" standards prescribed in these Rules.)
Section 5. Grand Father Admission. An Attorney, a trial assistant (as used under the Trust Territory Court system), or a trial counselor who has previously been admitted to practice in the Trust Territory Courts or in the Federated States of Micronesia Supreme Court may be admitted to practice in the Pohnpei Supreme Court, Inferior Courts and Adjudicatory Bodies established by act of the Pohnpei Legislature, if he complies with the following:
a. He applies for admission under this section to the Chief Clerk of Court, Pohnpei Supreme Court, P.O. Box 1449, Pohnpei, ZIP Code 96941 on or before July 1, 1985.
b. Shows Evidence of Admission to practice granted by the Trust Territory High Court, or the FSM Supreme Court.
c. Certificate of good standing signed by a Justice or a judicial officer currently on board as an employee of the Trust Territory High Court, or the FSM Supreme Court.
d. If a non-Trust Territory citizen or (non-FSM citizen) the applicant must produce his permit or a certified copy of such permit issued by the Pohnpei Foreign Investment Board authorizing him to engage in business activities within the State of Pohnpei, FSM, pursuant to State Law 4L-205-79; and
e. Payment of admission fee as provided in these Rules.
Section 6. Admission of New Attorneys and New Trial Counselors. In order to develop and to attract potential trial counselors who are citizens and residents of Pohnpei State, the Court may waive the requirement of passing the FSM Bar Examination if after examination of the applicant pursuant to Section 9 of these Rules, the Court is satisfied that the applicant possesses and demonstrates a legal ability to perform satisfactorily in and out of Court as an advocate.
A new attorney or new trial counselor may be admitted to practice law in Pohnpei State by meeting all of the following requirements:
a. Graduated from an accredited law school; or be a person of demonstrated legal ability as defined in these rules; and
b. is not convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, is not currently being charged with violation of professional responsibilities, nor has he been found guilty of violation of professional ethics or responsibilities; and
c. take and pass the State Bar Examination; (Until the State devised its own bar examination, the FSM Supreme Court bar examination is being designated as the required bar examination to satisfy this requirement); and
d. is a resident of the State of Pohnpei, or has a business office actually located within the State of Pohnpei; and
e. if a non-citizen, has been granted a Foreign Investment Permit authorizing him to engage in business activities within the State of Pohnpei pursuant to State Law 4L-205-79; and
f. paying an admission fee in the amount of $25.00 for attorneys and $20.00 for trial counselors.
(Attorneys and trial counselors who are hired as such by the FSM National Government, the Pohnpei State Government, or their agencies, including the attorneys or trial counselors employed at the Pohnpei Office of the Micronesian Legal Services Corporation are exempted from the application of Subsections e and f of this section; provided however, if they leave their Government service and wish to continue in the practice of law in this State as private attorneys or trial counselors, they must comply as appropriate.)
AMENDMENT: Recognizing the immediate and special need of the State to utilize attorneys currently employed by the State in the office of the Attorney General to appear before this Court as attorneys for the Government without the delays inherent to the Rules of Admission, and under the authority of Article 10, Section 10 of the Pohnpei State Constitution, Section 6 of the Pohnpei State Rules of Admission of Attorneys which was issued and adopted on April 1, 1985 is hereby specially amended in order to waive the requirement of subsection c,e, and f. The following provision shall therefore apply: "An attorney and trial counselor who is employed as such by the Office of the Attorney General, the Government of the State of Pohnpei or agencies thereof is exempt from the provisions here amended; PROVIDED HOWEVER, that he complies with the following:
a) If an attorney, he files with Chief Justice of Pohnpei Supreme Court, evidence of graduating from law school, and a verification from the employing government of his employment as an attorney which shall also state the duration of such employment.
b) If a trial counselor, he files with the Chief Justice of the Pohnpei Supreme Court a verification from the employing government of his employment as trial counselor which shall also state the duration of such employment; PROVIDED FURTHER, that upon completion of such government service as attorney or trial counselor, if the attorney or trial counselor desires to continue to practice before the Pohnpei Supreme Court, he must comply with all appropriate provisions of the Rule adopted on April 1, 1985. (Effective April 1, 1997.)
Section 7. Reciprocal Admission. An attorney or a trial counselor may be admitted to practice in the Courts of the Pohnpei State if he has previously been admitted to practice and is in good standing in an FSM State admitting Pohnpei attorneys and trial counselors on a reciprocal basis and paid in the appropriate admission fee.
Section 8. Admission to Appear for a Particular Case. In the interest of justice and of economy, visiting attorneys, trial counselors or law students may be considered for admission to practice before the Pohnpei Supreme Court for particular cases as shall be determined by a Justice of the Pohnpei Supreme Court. The Order granting such motion shall so state the nature and scope under which such applicant may practice law in the State.
Section 9. Procedure. An attorney or a trial counselor who is interested to be admitted to the bar of the Pohnpei Supreme Court may submit an application in the form of a letter or resume to the Pohnpei Supreme Court in Kolonia, Pohnpei. Post Office Box Number 1449, Pohnpei, Eastern Caroline Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, ZIP Code 96941. The application must include the information required under Section 5 or 6 as the case may be.
Upon receipt of your application, an examination date will be set for you to appear in person before a justice of the Pohnpei Supreme Court for an oral and other incidental examination as may be necessary.
Section 10. Master Roll of Attorneys and Trail Counselors. When an attorney or a trial counselor fulfills the admission requirements provided in these Rules, his name shall be ordered registered in the respective Master Roll to be maintained by the Chief Clerk of Court. The Master Roll shall be updated whenever a new attorney or trial counselor is ordered registered or an old one disbarred.
Section 11. Compliance With the New Rules. Non-citizen attorneys and trial counselors who were previously admitted to practice law in this State prior to the effective date of these Rules are expected to comply with the provisions of these Rules, particularly Sections 5d and 6e on or before January 1, 1986, or as soon thereafter as the Court may grant.
Section 12. Oath of Attorneys or Trial Counselors. Each attorney or trial counselor admitted to practice law in Pohnpei State shall subscribe to the following oath:
"I, __________________________________________ , Do Solemnly Swear That To The Best Of My Knowledge And Ability, I Will Uphold, Defend And Support The Pohnpei Constitution, Laws And Customs Of The State Of Pohnpei; And That I Will Represent My Client To The Utmost Of My Ability; And That I Will Faithfully Abide By The Rules Of Professional Conduct Established By The Court; And That I Will, At All Times, Conduct Myself In A Manner To Uphold The Dignity Of This Court, Other Inferior Courts And Adjudicatory Bodies Of The State Of Pohnpei And The Honor Of The Legal Profession; And That I Will Strive To Assist The Courts Of The State of Pohnpei To Develop A System Of Justice Consistent With Traditional Pohnpeian Customs And Values. So Help Me God".
Adopted by the Pohnpei Supreme Court this 1st day of April, 1985.
Edwel H. Santos,