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Male lawyers more rogue, says Law Council

By Moses Walubiri

Added 16th January 2020 03:59 PM

According to submissions made before the legal and parliamentary affairs committee earlier today by Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Law Council registered 74 complaints against errant Advocates in the current financial year.

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Christopher Gashirabaki, deputy solicitor general and attorney general William Byaruhanga appear before legal and parliamentary affairs committee of parliament on January 16, 2020. (Photo by Maria Wamala

According to submissions made before the legal and parliamentary affairs committee earlier today by Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Law Council registered 74 complaints against errant Advocates in the current financial year.

LAW

According to data from Law Council, male Advocates have been hauled before its disciplinary committee over the last 12 months compared to their female counterparts.

According to submissions made before the legal and parliamentary affairs committee earlier today by Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Law Council registered 74 complaints against errant Advocates in the current financial year.

However, of these, only six were females.

This spawned a debate between lawmakers, many of them practicing Advocates, as to whether the male lot in the legal profession is more prone to flouting professional ethics compared to their female counterparts.

Whereas Sam Bitangaro, a former Deputy Attorney General attributed the large number of male Advocates getting sanctioned by Law Council to the fact that fewer females Advocates are actually in active legal practice, Bichetero Elagu, made a case for stakeholders to “talk” to erring lawyers.

“The legal profession is a noble profession. But it’s being dragged in the sewers by these errant Advocates.  Law Council and other stakeholders need to talk to them instead of just punishing them,” Bichetero said.  

However, Robinah Rwakoojo, a former director civil litigation at Attorney General’s chambers tasked Margaret Apiny, the Secretary Law Council, to reveal the kind of ‘crimes’ these ‘rogue’ Advocates are committing.

Although guarded on the issue of ‘crimes’ committed by errant Advocates, Apiny was of the view that male Advocates are prone to flouting professional ethics.

Law Council’s disciplinary committee is a creature of statute – the Advocates Act.

Its membership is composed of the chairperson who is a justice of the Court of Appeal, a senior Advocate representing Uganda Law Society, Director Law Development Center, Makerere University’s dean school of law and secretary Law Council.

Over the years, the most common ‘offense’ that is always the subject of adjudication before the disciplinary committee is misappropriation of clients’ money.

Other complaints revolve around professional negligence which results into avoidable loss of suits, and failure to represent clients after receiving instruction fees.

However, as revealed by Byaruhanga, Law Council is “constrained to effectively” dispose off disciplinary cases against errant lawyers due to inadequate funding.”

MPs heard that a section of disciplinary committee members  find the sitting allowances of sh140,000 too niggardly for them to warrant spending a greater part of their Friday disposing off cases.

Committee chairperson, Jacob Oboth-Oboth has promised to have the sitting allowance for the disciplinary committee enhanced.

 

 

 

 

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