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Rogue lawyers sanctioned for professional misconduct

Thirty two rogue lawyers have been suspended or struck off the roll of advocates for professional misconduct.

The list of the lawyers was published in the Friday edition of the official Kenya Gazette.

The decision to publish the names of the lawyers followed a public outcry about the rising 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,” Attorney General Githu Muigai had stated while receiving a report from the Advocates Complaints Commission (ACC) which investigated complaints against them.

COMPLAINTS

The list was handed to Prof Muigai by ACC Secretary James Marienga a week ago.

The ACC investigates complaints against advocates and provides guidance leading to reconciliation of the disputing parties.

It also makes referrals of complaints and prosecuting 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.

Various acts that can lead to judgements of professional misconduct include breach of client confidentiality, misappropriation of client money and undercutting or charging less than what is prescribed by law in the Advocates Remuneration Act.

BANKRUPTCY

Other instances that can lead to disciplinary action include bankruptcy and grave offences committed when an advocate is convicted of murder or manslaughter.

The effect of disciplinary action is 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 country 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 offence to fail to disclose that one has been struck off the roll and this attracts a fine not exceeding Sh50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.