"This is not the first time that this Practitioner [Filimoni Vosarogo] has been before the Commission for violations. He had been found guilty of professional misconduct in two previous matters. Firstly, in Application No. 005/2013 has admitted liability for an allegation of having instructed another legal practitioner without holding a valid practicing certificate and committing unsatisfactory professional conduct and had on 20 August 2013 been publicly reprimanded and fined $2,500, and then in Application No. 002/2016 has admitted overdrawing a client’s trust account pleaded guilty to professional misconduct and had on 29 September 2017 his practising certificate was suspended for 10 months and 17 days, a restriction imposed on his practicing certificate for 20 months and seven days and a fine of $3000.00 to be paid to the Commission and the Chief Registrar."
Justice Gihan Kulatunga Commissioner, 21 September 2022
IN THE INDEPENDENT LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION AT SUVA ILSC CASE NO. 003 of 2022 BETWEEN: CHIEF REGISTRAR, APPLICANT AND: VILIMONE VOSAROGO RESPONDENT. Counsel: Mr. Avishay Prasad for the Applicant Mr. John Rabuku for the Respondent. Date of Hearing: 13th May 2022 Written submissions: 7, 27 May and 18 July 2022
Date of Ruling: 21st September 2022
*VOSAROGO joins the Walter Mitty lawyers club of former Attorney-General AIYAZ SAYED KHAIYUM in making a mockery of the law, especially Section 96(2)(b) of the 2013 Constitution of Fiji.
*The Attorney-General must have a minimum of 15 years of post-admission experience and NOT have been found GUILTY by the Independent Legal Services Commission (ISLC).
*His challenge to his opponents to seek the courts determination to his new appointment undermines the findings of the Independent Legal Services Commission's judgments since its inception - with many lawyers even struck off from practising for Professional Misconduct.
*Is Vosarogo suggesting that lawyer SURESH CHANDRA, the former chairman of the Fijian Electoral Commission, who was fined $500,000 and struck off after he was foung guilty of six counts of professional misconduct by the ILSC for failing to reconcile funds totaling $2.139 million, can be re-instated, and even become Attorney-General because the ILSC makes orders, not findings of guilt?
*The Attorney-General oversees the running of the ILSC. We recommend that the Attorney-General should have no role whatsoever in ILSC.
*However, we notice that the highly compromised Fiji Law Society has written to Sitiveni Rabuka informing him the Society's intention to challenge Vosarogo's appointment, and also calls for him to step down as Attorney-General.
*We had decided to hold back from entering the legal fray (we are not in the habit of claiming glory) because we were searching for the THIRD judgment against Vosarogo for PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT. This judgment is not available on the
20 August 2013
"Vilimone Vosarogo, a Legal Practitioner, of Mamlakah Lawyers on the 2nd day of March 2012, without being a holder of a valid practising certificate instructed LAISA LAGILEVU of LAGILEVU LAW who also was not a holder of a valid practising certificate, to appear in the Suva High Court on behalf of the Accused in the matter between State v Epeli Ratabacaca Criminal Matter No. 252 of 2011 which conduct was a contravention of the provisions of Section 52(1) (b) of the Legal Practitioners Decree 2009 which conduct was an act of unsatisfactory professional conduct."
*Being unsatisfactory professional conduct, rather than professional misconduct, there is no question of the practitioner's practising certificate being at risk of being suspended, His conduct must be viewed and punished in correlation with the penalty assessed on Ms Lagilevu, the Counsel the practitioner instructed; his conduct being part of the same transaction. Ms Lagilevu was publicly reprimanded and being a very junior practitioner was fined the sum of $1000. There are nevertheless aggravating features pertaining to this allegation compared with that made against Ms. Lagilevu. This practitioner is a senior practitioner with many years' call and has at one time held a post of high public importance as Director of Legal Aid. The practitioner showed discourtesy to and disrespect to this Commission by not appearing with his Counsel on the date fixed for the hearing of this allegation. By doing so he also deprived himself of his right to address the Commission in mitigation of penalty.
The practitioner is publicly reprimanded. He is fined the sum of $2,500, to be paid to the Commission by 30th September 2013, failing which his practising certificate will be suspended for a period of three months. He is to pay wasted costs of $750 to the Commission for his un-excused failure to attend the hearing of this allegation on 12th of August 2013, such costs also to be paid by the same date and with the same default penalty as for the fine.
20 AUGUST 2013, JUSTICE PAUL MADIGAN, COMMISSIONER
Since arriving at this judgment with its attendant orders and before it has been handed down, the Commission received a letter from the Respondent in which he apologises profusely for his failure to attend the hearing of the 12th of August. He states that he had mis-recorded the date, thinking it was the 15th August and because he had been bedridden with flu for the preceding week he was unable to take steps to confirm the date of hearing. He had no intention to be disrespectful to the Commission nor should he be seen to be nonchalant. With those excuses, he asks for a re-opening of the hearing in order to advance these pleas before the Commission. Without fixing another hearing, the Commission accepts these timely excuses and notes the Respondent's remorse for his failure to attend but would wonder at his ability to manage his practice if he cannot indeed manage his own affairs. The fact is that the Respondent did not appear for a hearing for which he had good notice. The hearing was quite properly heard in his absence and he still bears the self-imposed disadvantage of not having been able to mitigate his penalty. In the circumstances however, and in acknowledgement that the Respondent was not intentionally showing disrespect to these proceedings, the wasted costs order (supra) is rescinded.
JUSTICE PAUL MADIGAN
COMMISSIONER 20 AUGUST 2013
29 September 2017:
Mr Vosarogo, please stand. Vilimone Vosarogo, this is now your second appearance before this Commission since 2013. You have, in my view, substantially completed your rehabilitation since 1st March 2016, serving from that date up to and including today, a combined total of 18 months and 18 days during which you have been either under suspension or working under a restricted practising certificate. Hence, why I am allowing you to return as a member of the legal profession but subject to certain conditions to be fulfilled over the next 12 months, including that you will be allowed for the first time in 18 months and 18 days to operate a trust account but this shall subject to stringent conditions. This will enable you, in my view, to complete your rehabilitation over the next 12 months whilst also putting in place stringent safeguards for the continuing protection of the public until this process is completed.
 As I mentioned at the beginning of my judgment, Vilimone Vosarogo, you have been a legal practitioner for nearly 18 years, having worked in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, as Manager Legal Service for the Land Transport Authority, Director of the Legal Aid Commission and since mid-2010 operating your own firm. No doubt, you have assisted many people during your career so far, including, I note, a number of community and sporting bodies. Whilst I did not detect baseball among those sports, I am sure that you are aware of what usually happens when you have three strikes against you (unless, of course, the umpire decides otherwise). Today, you are being given an opportunity to complete your rehabilitation. I suggest that you use this opportunity wisely.
Dr. Thomas V. Hickie
DRUNKARD CHIEF REGISTRAR MUST BE BOOTED OUT
"The Chief Registrar is the regulatory head of the legal profession; it is his function to ensure that the profession is competently and professionally conducted and if practitioners do not co-operate with him in that regard then his mission is frustrated; the failure to respond to the Registrar is therefore a serious breach of professional duty not only because it is a clear breach of statutory duty as provided for in the Legal Practitioners Decree 2009 but also because it is a professional courtesy which should be extended to the head of the profession."