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L -R: Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and former Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua are among 22 lawyers who had been recommended for the conferment of the Senior Counsel tittle/FILE

Kenya

Court hands Kalonzo, Karua reprieve in battle for Senior Counsel titles

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – The High Court has suspended a decision by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) revoking the conferment of the prestigious Senior Counsel status to 22 lawyers including former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and former Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua.

In a ruling delivered on Friday, Lady Justice Pauline Nyamweya stopped the Nelson Havi-led council from effecting the decision to revoke the recommendations of the Committee on Senior Counsel made on August 26, 2019, pending, “hearing and determination of the Applicants’ substantive Notice of Motion,” or until further orders of the Court.

The 22 moved to court on May 26, accusing Havi who has been listed as the respondent in the case of conflict of interest.

“The applicants are granted leave to apply for an order of prohibition to prohibit the respondent from acting further upon its decision of 11th May 2020 contained in the letter dated 13th May 2020 addressed to its membership,” she ruled.

The 9-member Committee on Senior Counsel chaired by Supreme Court judge Justice Mohamed Ibrahim had recommended the awarding of the Senior Counsel title to the 22 members in an exercise that was later contested by a section of lawyers who termed the process flawed.

Consequently, in an LSK Council meeting chaired by Havi on May 11, the nominations were revoked on the basis that they were never merited. LSK resolved to re-access the suitability of the 22 lawyers.

“The Council deliberated on this matter in a meeting held on May 11, 2020. It was resolved that the decision of the committee made on August 26, 2019, be set aside. The recommendation for the conferment of the 22 advocates was therefore revoked,” the President said.

In her ruling on Friday, Justice Nyamweya asked the lawyers to file and serve the LSK with substantive notices of motion within fourteen days with the matter slated for mention on June 6.

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Lawyers eyeing the lucrative title include: Rautta Athiambo, seasoned lawyer Fred Ngatia, Wilfred Nderitu, Prof Albert Mumma, Pravin Bowry, the former Assistant Director (Legal Services) of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACCA), and John Chigiti, among others.

Others are: Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Dorcas Oduor, family lawyer Judy Thongori, the former chief executive of the defunct Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Patricia Nyaundi, Kioko Kilikumi, renowned arbitrator John Ohaga and former Director of Public Prosecutions Philip Murgor.

Kenya currently has 26 Senior Counsels.

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