Kenya: Advocates’ Complaints Commission to devolve services to the counties

May 26, 2011 17:300 comments

By David Kiarie

Kenya

Kenyans will soon be able to seek redress in disputes between them and their advocates at places closer to them following plans by the Advocates’ Complaints Commission to devolve their services to the counties.

Speaking in Embu town during a public sensitization meeting, the commission chairman Joseph King’arui said the demand for their services by the public is increasing with at least 200 cases being filed against advocates daily.

King’arui also said although a big number of Kenyans are still unaware of the existence or the mandate of the commission, many people have learnt about the government- established organ through sensitization forums and are utilizing the free services offered by the commission to solve their differences with their advocates.

He said presently, the advocates’ disciplinary tribunal, which is the investigating and prosecuting arm of the commission, is handling over 1,000 cases filed against practicing advocates from all parts of the country.

King’arui said the major complaints before the commission relate to withholding funds, conflict of interest and failure to attend court by the advocates.

“This amounts to professional misconduct and any advocate who is convicted of these or other offences are admonished, fined, suspended temporarily or struck from the advocates register depending with the severity of the matter,” the chairman explained.

The country has an average of 4,000 practicing advocates and a least 40 have been struck from the register for gross professional misconduct since inception of the commission 20 years ago according to the chairman.

“A few advocates have been a disgrace to this profession and our work is to protect the public and the profession as well,” King’arui told journalists during the forum adding that it takes about four months to determine a case from the time it is brought to their attention.

Embu West district Commissioner Maalim Mohamed said most of the cases in the area involve land and succession and called for more public training to enhance their knowledge on basic law.

The commission which is a department of the state law office is mandated to inquire into complaints against advocates, advocate firms and employees of the firms.

Its aim is to inspire public confidence in the administration of justice through efficient and effective handling of complaints of professional misconduct against advocates.

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