Lawyers, judges must uphold integrity – DCJ

July 12, 2013 3:47 pm
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Rawal said the legal profession must demand of itself as much integrity, competence and efficiency as it expects of their clients and judicial officers/FILE
Rawal said the legal profession must demand of itself as much integrity, competence and efficiency as it expects of their clients and judicial officers/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 12 – Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal and Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua have called for integrity to be upheld in the Bar and the Bench.

Speaking during the admission of 72 advocates to the roll, Rawal said the legal profession must demand of itself as much integrity, competence and efficiency as it expects of their clients and judicial officers.

“I must emphasize that being an officer of the court is not a responsibility that you can bare lightly. It is not enough for an advocate to be honest. You must be that and more; you must be concise, hardworking, patient, passionate, committed to the practice of law and have an overriding respect for justice,” Lady Justice Rawal said. “Your clients will expect these high standards from you all the time.”

She called on the legal fraternity to transform together with the Judiciary, emphasizing the need for advocates to internalize and practice the oath they had taken in order to be the crop of lawyers Kenya wants.

“Today you have just began the process of being an advocate, all of us were members of the Bar remain throughout the length of our careers part of this process; the process of the prominent pursuit of justice,” the DCJ told the 72 newly confirmed advocates.

“While we enjoy the freedoms given to us by the Constitution, we cannot take them for granted because the continued validity of those freedoms depends on the active engagement of each of us. Those of us who are privileged to call ourselves advocates, our special duty as gatekeepers of justice to participate in preserving that which we hold so dear.”

Mutua on his part told the new advocates that protecting integrity and the public trust are fundamental to the profession’s role and reputation.

“Integrity, honour upholding the rule of law; all those things are necessary for you to serve humanity or make money. If you do not follow the way of the profession, I can guarantee you that you will not survive this profession,” Mutua said.

He further urged the newly confirmed advocates to ensure they have the necessary documents to allow them practice law.

He said he was saddened by a recent episode where an election petition was thrown out because the petitioner’s lawyer did not have a practicing certificate.

The LSK boss however expressed shock to see some of the new advocates taking oaths, yet they had at one time or other misrepresented themselves as confirmed counsel. He warned such behaviour could lead to them being struck off the roll of advocates before they earn their first cheque.

According to LSK, the country has 11,000 practicing lawyers against a national population of about 40 million people.

Chief Public Litigation Counsel Stella Munyi who represented the Attorney General at the ceremony added integrity, competence and efficiency crown the basic qualities of a great advocate who venerates the altar of justice at which he serves.

Meanwhile, The Law Society of Kenya has castigated Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi over remarks where he is said to have called some of his legal colleagues incompetent.

Mutua regretted Abdullahi’s statement which he made before Parliament’s Public Investment Committee blaming problems at the National Cereals and Produce board on incompetent lawyers.

“I do not agree with him when he says in the media that all those other lawyers who he was dealing with as adversaries, as incompetent… that I don’t agree with,” Mutua stated.

Abdullahi had accused the board’s legal team of failing to make a simple application that would have saved the board from execution of a court order that dealt a blow to its financial capability.

The senior counsel has been adversely mentioned in the hearings of the committee that is investigating circumstances under which NCPB lost billions of shillings to a supplier.

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