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Legal jargon

To the editor

In your issue of Jan 27-Feb 9, 1995 there was an

article on page 15 captioned "First business law firm opens", referring to the

firm of Dirksen Flipse Doran and Le.

While I would like to congratulate

Dirksen Flipse Doran and Le for being undoubtedly the first international law

firm to be registered through the Cambodian Development Council, it is by no

means the first business law firm in Cambodia. That is simply not accurate. As I

was informed by one of its partners, Mr David Doran, the firm of Dirksen Flipse

Doran and Le was registered by CDC in December 1994. What was notably omitted

from your article is the fact that other business law firms, registered through

the Ministry of Commerce, already existed before Dirkesn Flipse Doran and Le

came into town. Case in point is the Law Office of Mbando Consulting Group,

located at 60 Preah Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh which was registered by the

Ministry of Commerce on 20 October 1994, as a legal consulting firm, inter

alia.

Both firms offer the same scope of legal services as international

legal consultants. In fact, every existing international legal consulting entity

(which is the current status of all the international law firms in Cambodia) is

required to work with a Cambodian lawyer if it seeks representation in the

country's courts.

It is important to mention that, regardless of which

jurisdiction registered the law firm, The Ministry of justice has final

disposition on the status and scope of each law firm in Cambodia. To date, the

Ministry of Justice has not yet published a policy on setting up a Bar

Association in Cambodia. Until that happens, all the registered international

consulting firms must operate under the UNTAC provisions which restrict them to

consulting services only.

It is also significant to inform your readers

that since 1992 the Principal Partner of the Mbando Law Office has participated

in drafting legislation for the Kingdom as a legal counsel for UNTAC and has

provided legal advice to several Government Ministries during his tenure with

UNDP. Since October 1992 the Mbando Law office has represented Cambodia in the

International Bar Association Conferences in Melbourne and Miami, and has

rendered commercial and general legal services to business clients. Therefore,

it is indeed inequitable to leave the impression with the public at large that

there had been a dearth of business law consulting capacity in Cambodia until

the registration of Dirksen Flipse Doran and Le.

In view of the

far-reaching implications of this erroneous piece of publication and publicity,

I would like to request that an appropriate correction be made, as you deem

proper, to ensure that your well informed readers are not misled and that

aspersions are not cast, albeit unintentionally on the other established law

firm in Cambodia. Surely, it would not be disingenuous for Dirksen Flipse Doran

and Le to claim fame to being the first International Law firm to be registered

through the CDC; it is quite another matter to stretch it to the point where the

public is to given the impression that Dirkse Flipse Doran and Le are the

pioneers of business law practice in Cambodia.

- Wallace Divine, Director, Mbando Consulting Group

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