Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan lawyers barred from practicing in Kenya

Kenya barres Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan from practicing law Kenya [Image: courtesy]
East Africa—Most attorneys specialize in one area, such as contract, cooperates, customs, immigration, tax, or human rights to name a few. They usually advise their clients on the domestic laws of their home country.

These lawyers may be involved in negotiating contacts resolving international disputes, handling mergers, etc. It requires knowledge of different legal systems and an understanding of the source of international law.

However, the practice of international al law in different countries by lawyers may be infringed for different reasons. I.e. Kenya has blocked Rwanda and Burundi lawyers from practicing in the country until local advocates are allowed to work in the two countries on a reciprocal basis.

The National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs committee wants all East African member States to address the matter before Kenya can open trade in legal services to Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.

Tanzania and Uganda lawyers are currently allowed to practice law in Kenya in accordance with provisions of sections 12 and 13 of the Advocates Act.

Thirteen Kenyan lawyers who are4c currently practicing advocates in Rwanda Bar Association (RBA) have petitioned the Kenyan parliament to Fastrack the inclusion of Rwanda and Burundi in the Advocates Act to enable the chief justice to swear and enroll practitioners from the two counties to practice in Kenya.

Parliament through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act, 2012, amended sections 12 and 13 of the Advocates Act to include Rwanda and Burundi but the court of Appeal in 2019 struck down the changes effectively locking down the two countries.

That le to The Law Society of Kenya (LSK), suing the Attorney General arguing the amendment to section 12 of the Advocates Act to open up trade in legal services for non-Kenyans without reciprocal access for Kenyan advocates was a violation of parliament legislative powers.