Regulations set to monitor lawyer’s service charges

THE Judiciary is set to release new regulations that will take a closer look at services provided by advocates, particularly their charges.

This was hinted by the Judge In-Charge of the Mwanza High Court Zone, Sam Rumanyika during his remarks at the commemoration of the Law Day held here on Wednesday.

Judge Rumanyika said for years now there has been public outcry on high and unrealistic fees charged by private advocates in the country, which makes it difficult for poor people to access timely justice in courts of law.

“There has been public outcry on the unrealistic charges imposed by private advocates, contrary to the law governing their profession. Such advocates, knowingly or otherwise, are abusing their noble profession, and they should know that their service is not governed by the market force,” he said.

If the advocates keep on hiking the charges, he warned, they risk having their licenses and certificates revoked, saying that it was due to this situation which forced the Chief Justice to form a special committee which reviewed the whole matter and has already prepared regulations which were recently endorsed.

Judge Rumanyika commended the general performance of the Judiciary in Mwanza Zone for their brilliant work, but was irked by the increased number of murder cases which have reached 513 out of a total of 1978 cases filed by 31 December last year.

Pleading to the members of the public to shun taking the law into their own hands and distance themselves from getting involved in mob justices, the Judge In-Charge appealed to the media to be proactive in providing public education on the growing trend of killing innocent people on dubious circumstances.

On the dispensation of timely justice to all, he said the Primary Courts were leading with a good record in clearance of case backlogs, mentioning Chato District as the top in the list of making a clearances by over 90 percent by end of last year.

Judge Rumanyika challenged the Parliament to see to it that the laws were enacted in a friendly and plain language, saying it was high time the national language Kiswahili, which is well known to many citizens, was used in the whole law making process.

“On this matter, I am ready to lead by example, that is why I have delivered my speech in Kiswahili today, and I will be one of the first Judges to prepare my judgments in the same language. After-all, we have evidence that some Judges used Kiswahili in the past,” he stressed.

Delivering his message, the Mwanza Regional Prosecutions Officer, Castuce Ndamugoba said it was the noble obligation of all stakeholders in the Judiciary and the general public to make sure timely dispensation of justice is maintained.

He was of the view that outdated practices in the function of the Judiciary should come to an end, citing some of the magistrates writing case rulings manually in today’s era of information and communication technology.

“To make it worse, there are some magistrates who follow up case proceedings and at the same time they are forced to record them manually, while in many places advocates are unreasonably asking for adjournment of cases, contributing to delay of justice. All parties therefore should be accountable in effective operations,” said Mr Ndamugoba.

Another speaker was the representative from the Tanzania Legal Society (TLS), Advocate Leny Njau, who commended the Judiciary for recording improvement in using E-file system and the state resolve to start using mobile courts.

However, he was concerned by some elements where investigation of cases was delayed, proposing for a mediation approach in reducing costs and time in resolving cases. Giving his remarks, the Mwanza Regional Commissioner (RC), John Mongela promised to intervene in checking the performance of the Ward Tribunals and the state of court infrastructures in his region.

The RC was of the view that joint efforts were needed in working on the highlighted challenges in the process of delivering timely justice, promising to see to it that ward tribunals were operating to meet the expectations of the public.

Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter in Mwanza

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