Kenya News

Public urged to speak out against rogue lawyers

The Advocates Complaints Commission (ACC) is calling on the general public to speak out against rogue lawyers.

The ACC has kicked off a countrywide public sensitization and legal aid clinic forums against a backdrop of a rise in complaints against unscrupulous lawyers.

The commission is a division in the State department of justice in the Attorney General’s office tasked with investigating complaints against advocates and undertaking reconciliation of the parties.

The commission has so far held public forums in Kwale, Mombasa, Makueni, Meru, Nyeri, Laikipia and Nakuru counties.

Speaking in Kwale County the Chairperson of the ACC Caroline Saroni said the sensitization forums are aimed at enlightening the people of their right and report misconduct of lawyers for prompt action.

Saroni said her commission is determined to crackdown on rogue lawyers and avert clients being cheated by ‘adequately protecting the public from bad lawyers.’

She said her commission has the vision to inspire greater public confidence in the legal profession through quality investigations and response into complaints against lawyers.

“We have the mandate to enlighten the public to know their rights in advocate-client relationships” she said.

She went on, ‘we receive complaints and conduct investigations, promote reconciliation and provide an amicable settlement and refer and prosecute complaints of professional misconducts.’

Saroni said major complaints handled by the commission are broadly categorized into inadequate professional services and professional misconduct.

She implored lawyers to uphold integrity, discipline, professionalism, transparency and accountability to remain in the roll of advocates.

She said her commission has the powers to admonish, suspend from practice for a specified period not exceeding five years, strike off an advocate name from the roll of advocates, fine an advocate an amount not exceeding one million shillings or order the advocate to pay to the aggrieved person compensation or reimbursement not exceeding five million shillings.

Saroni disclosed that from July 2020 to June 2021 her commission received and disposed of 1,950 complaints against practicing lawyers.

She said since July 2021, a total of 3,866 complaints have been received at the commission with 304 already disposed of.

The ACC chairperson said the complaints against lawyers ranged from failure to surrender professional services, withholding funds, failure to account, neglecting clients’ cases, issuing dishonored cheques and overcharging.

“In the period under review two rogue lawyers have been struck off the role of advocates, three advocates suspended and Sh.11.9 million recovered on behalf of complainants through in-house dispute resolution mechanism,” she said.

Saroni promised comprehensive and timely investigations against rogue advocates to protect the public interest.

Written by: www.kenyanews.go.ke

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