Kenya’s rogue advocates listed

By Margaret Kalekye/Release

The Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice has made public a list of advocates facing disciplinary action for gross professional misconduct.

The list of 32 advocates was submitted to the Attorney General, Professor Githu Muigai last Friday by the Secretary of the Advocates Complaints Commission (ACC), Mr. James Marienga.

The Advocates Complaints Commission is the body mandated to handle complaints on legal issues in the country.

The names of disgraced advocates facing suspension and those who have been struck off the Roll of Advocates are expected to published in the gazette notice due on Friday 20th January 2017.

The decision to make public the names of dishonorable learned friends is as a response to public outcry on the increasing number of rogue advocates who have continued to fleece members of the public while putting the legal profession in disrepute.

Disciplinary action taken against an advocate emanates from evidence of gross professional misconduct as reported by complainants to, received and reviewed by the Advocates Complaints Commission.

The ACC which derives its mandate from Article 53 of the Advocates Act is charged with the responsibility of Investigating Complaints Against Advocates, providing guidance leading to reconciliation of the disputing parties, making referral of complaints to the Disciplinary Committee, and finally prosecuting of disciplinary actions before the Disciplinary Committee.

The Commission further ensures that advocates conduct themselves in a professionally acceptable manner as stipulated by the code of conduct.

Gross Professional misconduct, constitute behavior regarded as disgraceful or dishonorable conduct incompatible with the status of an advocate as stipulated in the code of conduct in the Advocates Act.

All advocates must conduct themselves in a manner that preserves and strengthens the dignity, honour and ethics of the legal profession.

Various acts leading to professional misconduct include, Breach of client confidentiality, Misappropriation of client funds as well undercutting or charging less than what is prescribed by law in The Advocates Remuneration Act.

Other instances leading to disciplinary action are Bankruptcy and Grave offenses committed where an advocate is convicted of murder or manslaughter.

The effect of this disciplinary action against the advocates means that those listed are not allowed to practice law.

They cannot represent clients nor can they appear in a court of law anywhere in the Republic of Kenya without the express authority of the Registrar of the High Court.

The only reprieve for disgraced advocates is that they can be sought for legal advice by employers but only after disclosing that they have been struck off the Roll of Advocates.

According to the Advocates Act, it is an offense to fail to disclose that one has been struck off the Roll of Advocates and this attracts a fine not exceeding Kshs. 50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.