THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has expressed concern at the rising number of bogus lawyers and is working to identify and remove fake practitioners from the profession.
LSZ president, Rumbidzai Matambo, praised authorities for acting swiftly when bogus individuals were reported, but urged stakeholders, particularly the media, to continue to work together to root out such people.
Addressing journalists after the annual half-day media training on court reporting, Matambo noted that the society’s website carries details of registered practitioners, including those who have been deregistered or suspended.
She also warned that errant lawyers will be dealt with thoroughly by the disciplinary process and urged members of the public to demand a valid practicing certificate.
“The public is urged to demand a valid Practicing Certificate from a legal practitioner each time they seek to engage one. It is their right, and they should exercise it.
“To this end, we have never held back where the need arises to seek the deregistration of members found on the wrong side of the law, our regulations or ethics.
“The Society has also put in place resources for the review of the disciplinary process in order to enable agility and swiftness in the disposal of cases without sacrificing administrative justice.
“Administrative justice is underpinned by due process and principles of natural justice. In this regard, the Society assures all its valued stakeholders that there is no place for errant lawyers to hide.
“The wheels of administrative justice may turn slowly, but they certainly do turn. The processes may appear long winding as things stand, but this is as provided by law and unless there are amendments to existing legislation, we can only follow what is available to us,” she said.
Matambo also touched on disturbing reports from the Council for Legal Education which is tasked with administering conversion exams continuing pupillage exams.
“As a stakeholder and consumer of the graduates produced by the CLE, the Law Society has been hands-on in its approach to the resolution of the problems affecting the Council for Legal Education.
“To this end, the Law Society is in constant engagement with all relevant stakeholders, including the CLE itself, the NPA, ZACC and our line minister.”
She said the LSZ in partnership with the University of Zimbabwe had taken over the conversion exams while inquiries into CLE are ongoing.
The training was facilitated by journalist cum lawyer, Chris Mhike, and veteran journalist Chris Chinaka.