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Lawyer petitions to keep JSC officials off court

By Everlyne Judith Kwamboka | March 10th 2019

A petition has been filed seeking to stop a lawyer sitting in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from representing litigants in court.

Vincent Lempaa seeks to end the practice perceived by some as a conflict of interest.

Current Law Society of Kenya (LSK) representatives to JSC Prof Tom Ojienda and Mercy Deche and their predecessors, have been sitting in the commission and representing clients in court at the same time, a practice Lempaa wants changed.

The petition was filed yesterday at the society’s head office in Nairobi ahead of the March 30 Annual General Meeting. The same petition was pulled down from a Special General Meeting’s agenda in September.

Lempaa wants LSK members to pass a resolution on March 30, saying commissioners should only be allowed to run their law firms or consultancies with the provision that they shall not appear before the judicial officers while still in office. The Judicial Service Commission Act is silent on what an LSK member is required to do upon being appointed to the commission. Section 18 of the Act only requires Members of Parliament, local authority member or a member of the executive committee of a political party to relinquish that office on appointment as a member of JSC.

Lempaa also wants a resolution passed that a judicial officer may not be able to discharge his or her duties independently when handling a case in which a commissioner is representing a client before the court.

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