Rwandan and Burundian lawyers barred from practicing in Kenya

Economy

Rwandan and Burundian lawyers barred from practicing in Kenya


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Summary

  • Parliament has banned Rwandan and Burundian lawyers from practicing in Kenya until local lawyers are allowed to work in both countries on a reciprocal basis.
  • Tanzanian and Ugandan lawyers are currently licensed to practice law in Kenya in accordance with the provisions of Articles 12 and 13 of the Lawyers Act.

Parliament has banned Rwandan and Burundian lawyers from practicing in Kenya until local lawyers are allowed to work in both countries on a reciprocal basis.

The National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee wants all East African member states to address the issue before Kenya can open up trade in legal services to Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan from South.

Tanzanian and Ugandan lawyers are currently licensed to practice law in Kenya in accordance with the provisions of Articles 12 and 13 of the Lawyers Act.

Thirteen Kenyan lawyers who are currently practicing lawyers for the Rwanda Bar Association (RBA) have called on parliament to speed up the inclusion of Rwanda and Burundi in the lawyers law to allow the chief justice to take the oath and register practitioners from both countries to practice in Kenya. .

Parliament, through the 2012 law (various amendments), amended Articles 12 and 13 of the Lawyers Law to include Rwanda and Burundi, but the Court of Appeal in 2019 overturned the changes locking indeed both countries.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) sued the Attorney General arguing that the amendment to section 12 of the Lawyers Act aimed at opening up the trade of legal services to non-Kenyans without reciprocal access for Kenyan lawyers was a violation of the legislative powers of Parliament.

The House committee supported the concerns of the judiciary and the Council for Legal Education regarding the lack of uniformity of qualifications for admission to law studies and membership to the respective bars of the Member States of the Community. from East Africa.

“Without mutual and equivalent harmonization, there should be no reciprocity,” the commission said.

Chief Judicial Clerk Anne Amadi and CLE told MPs that there is an urgent need to amend the Law on Legal Education and the Law on the Law School of Kenya (KSL) to clarify the minimum qualifications of the secondary for entry into the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in Kenya.

The changes will further clarify the eligibility and minimum requirements for non-Kenyans who are already admitted to practice law in the EAC or Commonwealth and beyond before applying for admission to practice law in Kenya.

The reforms of both laws aim to prescribe the applicability of minimum secondary education qualifications for those who graduate from LLB abroad before returning to KSL.

It will also clarify the applicability of minimum secondary qualifications to Kenyans who are already admitted to practice law in other countries before returning to apply for membership in the Kenyan bar.

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Bernice Dyer

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