Sunday, September 20, 2020

Law Society wants more say in appointment of judges

The Law Society of Botswana (LSB) has resolved to set up a committee to look into the appointment of judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal, the society’s Chairman, Lawrence Lecha, confirmed to The Telegraph on Monday.

At its special meeting held over the weekend, the society adopted a resolution related to its position on appointment of judges and representation in the judicial service commission. Currently, the society is only represented by a single member in the JSC.

“We agreed that a committee should be set up to look into the appointment of judges in our country,” said Lecha.

It has since emerged that at the same special meeting, a number of resolutions were to be adopted but members rejected them saying they were drafted in bad faith.

For instance, the society intended to amend the regulation relating to the setting up and operation of a law firm. The proposed resolutions also sought to make it compulsory for a lawyer to hold a practising certificate and undergo a course on operation of a trust account prescribed by the Law Society in the previous six months or so.

Another proposal was that trust accounts interest rates which are at 70 percent were to be changed to 30 percent, but this was rejected by the majority of LSB members.

While he acknowledged that members did not give satisfactory reasons for opposing the proposed resolutions, Lecha said some members felt that the proposed amendments, especially those in relation to setting up of law firms were aimed at preventing some attorneys from opening their own law firms.
It is also understood that those who were opposed to the proposed amendments had tabled a motion of no confidence against the current LSB Council.

However, they lost in their bid to topple the current LSB Council on the grounds that the notice was not properly done in terms of a relevant provision as provided for by the Legal Practitioners Act.
“We are still mapping the way forward. In fact, we intend to write a proper notice in terms of the provision in question. But what I can say is that though we did not have the required numbers to table the motion and that the paper was not properly served on the council, they were really embarrassed as the majority of the resolutions that they intended to adopt were rejected by members,” said one of the lawyers who preferred to remain anonymous.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.