Malawi laws allow lawyers from self-representing in criminal cases – Justice Minister

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu has said there is no law that prevents lawyers from self-representing in criminal cases.

Tembenu:  Lawyers can represent themselves

Tembenu: Lawyers can represent themselves

Tembenu said in parliament after  Lilongwe Central MP Lobin Lowe of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) raised the issue if behaviour of some lawyers, “who are suspects and, under the laws of Malawi, are able to represent themselves and even represent other suspects in a similar case for example; the Cash gate. “

Former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara is representing himself in a money laundering case involving him and five others.

Kasambara, now private practice lawyer, is also representing other suspects in the other cashgate cases.

Tembenu said under the laws of Malawi lawyers can represent themselves when they stand accused in criminal cases.

“There is really no law that prevents anybody from representing themselves in court. That is quite permissible,” said the Justice Minister.

When a lawyer is an accused and they are representing a co-accused person, Tembenu said it was an issue of ethics which the court can handle it.

“That is an ethical question that can be handled ably by the court in enforcing discipline among the lawyers that, where they see that there are some ethical issues out of that kind of scenario, the court on its own should be able to enforce discipline by reprimanding those who do that. If they do not do that, then it may be a representation of failure on the part of the system,” said Tembenu.

Tembenu said on the discipline of lawyers, the Law Commission has effectively discharged the responsibility in that, “they reviewed the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act and their recommendations on the review of the law, regarding legal practitioners, has already been considered by the Cabinet Committee on Legal Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs and it will be pushed on to Cabinet. “

The Justice Minister added that in the review, the issue of discipline of lawyers has been enhanced.

“We have put mechanism like the complaints committee and also enhanced and improved the disciplinary measures that are taken against errant lawyers.

“ For the time being, the Law Society has its own disciplinary committee chaired by the Solicitor General and they look at matters of discipline regarding lawyers,” said Tembenu.

Law Society president John Suzi-Banda recently disclosed that the body is investigating 400 cases that date back to 2008 where lawyers are accused of duping clients’ of money for compensation while others are accused of overcharging.

“There is a special committee that is reviewing all the complaints that were made lodged and we have special funding to clear the cases,” Suzi-Banda said.

He said the suspected lawyers will undergo a disciplinary hearing chaired by the Solicitor General.

In critical theft cases, lawyers risk having their licences revoked as the disciplinary committee will be entitled to recommend to the Attorney General to make an application before the Chief Justice to have the lawyers’ licences revoked.

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NYAKA 1
Guest

Ur law degrees otengedwa after 10 years coz Govt imatseka tseka xool shud not bore us coz there also some international colleges n universities offering d same at a nicer period , may be u don’t know ds ridim more years mor expenses and not ds high xool u call UNIMA foolish .

Gulugufe
Guest

Ha! A John Suzi Banda musatipusitsepo apa, ma hearing anuwo muyamba liti? Funding mukunenayo si mwanyengeranyengera yatha mahule inu!

Chicharito
Guest

If u fail to make it to Unima, u r not worthy studying Law period. 36 points ukapange legals hahaha ufiti chani? Sikopita ndi ndalama ku Law School koma nzeru.

mwiithotho
Guest

Look at developed countries, they have bar schools which can or may not admit candidates from various law school. Ku Nyasalande when or if you attend the ‘one and supposedly dilapidated’ law school, then you automatically admit your small head into the ‘BAR’ How foolishly designed. .. and sorried too. Trash! !

kenkkk
Guest

The issue is not about lawyers representing themselves, they have every right to do so just like any person representing himself or herself without the service of a lawyer.

The real issue is when a lawyer represents co-accused who have been committing crimes together with the lawyer. That is when conflict of interest arises. The lawyer can represent himself,yes but he can’t represent co-accused.

Ralph should never have been allowed to represent the cashgate co-accused. But representing himself is okay,no where in the world stops anyone from representing themselves if that is what they want.

How
Guest

In a democratic society its allowed for does to item each other. Its also proper to get 577Billion and get away with it.

Jelbin mk
Guest

But the heading is carrying a light but misinforming I don’t expect a professional journalist to write a such. It would have been MALAWI LAWS ALLOW LAWYERS REPRESENTING THEMSELVES IN CRIMINAL CASES. not MALAWI LAWS ALLOW LAWYERS from SELF REPRESENTING IN CRIMINAL CASES. This is embarrassing to our journalism profession because I have read a lot of newspapers but I have not come across as numerous mistakes as Nyasatimes journalists/writers make especially making an error in a HEADING?

cheyo the real northerner
Guest
cheyo the real northerner

The minister is quite right. Our courts can ably do that by barring lawyers that are in conflict with the law. True minister but laws are made by legisratures. Why can’t you make this law of blocking lawyers who are intrustworthy.

Masoambeta
Guest
The whole legal system in malawi is a fraternity and not fit for purpose. They were all buddies from Chancol and they can not criticise each other despite the foul play they are presently engaged in. This is the reason why Law Society of malawi is not happy to see graduates from other institutions (even though better in standing than Chancol) to practice law in Malawi. There is no competition with the legal sector. They’re all corrupt and their attention is on quick money and boosting egos. Besides, how can an organisation regulate itself? It is high time that sanity… Read more »
danivella banda
Guest

There has no any lawyer who has ever gone under displinary action in Malawi.Its a network of crooks.They think they are untouchable.

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