23 February 2013

Zambia: Uphold Intergrity, Chibesakunda Urges Lawyers

ACTING Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda has advised newly admitted advocates to perform their duties with integrity.

Ms Justice Chibesakunda said this would enable them to maintain commitment to their profession and community.

She said the high legal fees being charged by lawyers in private practice were undesirable and were posing a serious challenge which would not only give rise to "bush lawyers" but also bring the noble work of lawyers into ridicule.

"I want to sound an alarm that the high legal fees being charged by lawyers have a number of potential implications. First it means that people will use our services less or avoid us altogether. This is obviously undesirable, not from a purely selfish perspective but because citizens should be able to access legal services when they need them," Ms Justice Chibesakunda said.

She said this in Lusaka yesterday when she admitted 62 advocates at the Supreme Court.

Ms Justice Chibesakunda said access to justice was one of the challenges faced by many people, adding that today's litigation was expensive and out of reach for most citizens.

The acting Chief Justice said yesterday's ceremony was unique in that it was the first time ever, that it was split into groups because of the large number of practitioners.

"I have been briefed that out of 142 students who sat for the examination, 62 passed the examination, the highest number to be recorded," she said.

Ms Justice Chibesakunda said the improved results would also prove wrong certain quarters of society that thought there was a ploy to limit the number of candidates being admitted to the bar.

She commended the Zambia Institute for Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) for embarking on wide and ambitious reforms that if well executed would transform it into a world class learning facility for lawyers.

She said that the quality of Zambia's legal fraternity depended totally on ZIALE.

ZIALE director Enoch Mulembe said the quality of legal education should never be compromised through inadequate facilities, poorly

structured circular and use of unqualified lecturers.

Mr Mulembe said the institution has been the subject of debate regarding the performance of students in the legal practitioners' qualifying examination, favouritism and manipulation of the results among others.

Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) vice-president Martin Musaluke urged lawyers to act without fear or favour but above all not to mislead the courts.

Convenor LAZ legal practitioners Committee, Mulilo Kabesha urged the newly admitted lawyers to uphold ethical standards and not to dance to the song of the media by attacking each other in the Press.

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