Law professor declares Malawi ‘too broken to be fixed’ as K7bn legal fees debate rages on

A vocal and outspoken law professor has declared that Malawi is too broken to be fixed, saying he cannot understand why the defense lawyers in the presidential election petition case were awarded a staggering K7 billion as legal costs.

Danwood Chirwa, a South Africa-based law expert, queries K7bn legal fees
In a Facebook post, Danwood Chirwa says he is yet to be given a satisfactory answer to the astronomical costs award the Tonse lawyers received.
“I’ve been made to understand that party-party costs serve as indemnity for the client.
“In simple terms a litigant pays lawyers for their services, and when the case is decided for the litigant, the losing party may be ordered to ‘reimburse’ some or all of the legal expenses incurred by the winning litigant on lawyers,” he says.
Chirwa says in the polls case, the Tonse lawyers, claimed they were in it for free, saying so the client didn’t pay anything. “What’s more, the freebies meant that the client could admit everyone who showed up at the party door to assist.
“Of course, those who turned up incurred some hard expenses such as transport, lodging, susbsistence, stationary, equipment such as laptops etc,” he says.
He says the party-party costs award were probably meant to reimburse some or all of these hard expenses.
“But to claim party-party costs for the client – the petitioners –  who didn’t pay a dime to the lawyers seems to me like unjustified enrichment of the petitioners.
“I understand that in Malawi some lawyers are in the habit of pocketing party-party costs which are meant for the litigant,” he says.
He says the jargon of party-party costs and ‘care and conduct’ are some of the bogus notions lawyers use to swindle clients’ money, saying the true intention of these concepts has been completely corrupted over the years.

The law professor says there are cases where a lawyer enters into an agreement with a client that the lawyer will be paid from party-party costs only, which can justify the withholding of the costs award from the client.

‘Nothing of this sort was said as the case went on.  We were told it was all for free. And because it was free, more lawyers joined the case than a client would normally afford or need.

“I am still struggling to differentiate between the moral standing of the lawyers for the petitioners and that of the lawyers for the respondents,” he says.
He says the latter made no claims they were in the case for the greater good.
Chirwa said everybody knew they were in it for the money and for the selfish interests of the party.
He said they were seen as the bad guys and were ridiculed accordingly.
“The lawyers for the petitioners made some claims as to civic virtues, and we admired their courage, service and commitment to the greater good,” he says.
Chirwa says in the end, both sets of lawyers have milked (or will milk) from the same underweight cow

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concerned citizen of malawi
concerned citizen of malawi
1 month ago

People here like to comment and justify the fees because of the result i.e they’re MCP or UTM supporters, and they have no knowledge whatsoever of the ethical duties of a lawyer when it comes to fees. Let us start by setting out the relevant provision in the Legal Practitioners Practice Rules. 6. — A legal practitioner shall not charge a fee that exceeds a fair and reasonable amount or which cannot be justified given the nature and scope of the brief or that is so disproportionate to the services rendered as to introduce an element of fraud or dishonesty… Read more »

Mulomwe wina Ndine
1 month ago

Simple and clear!! These lawyers are here to steal from poor Malawians again via the corrupt judiciary the way they store the May 2019 elections victory from the mighty DPP. Zamanyazi kumakhothi. Koma lachi 40 lidzakwana. And HRDC yangoti pheee as if everything that is happening in Nonse Alliance is normal. Shame!

Msadane
Msadane
1 month ago

Been following this discussions with interest because I believe no one should cash in where they did not saw.

Meanwhile, I am reminded of what former MEC Chair person stated about the cost of services of lawyers calculated per hour.

On the other hand, I wish the learned professor shared a copy of the “live” content of the wording about cost of the lawyers in question and those who “contracted” them as a basis for putting into context whether or not they lawyers were entitled to any payments

Perhaps the learned lawyer could consider sharing the same?

Kondwani Chisale
Kondwani Chisale
1 month ago

This is what we call Corrupted Malawi and the Politicians and even Presdentis and VP are the Same How can they Turn a Blind Eye on such a Judgement as they are aware that Malawi does NOT have that Kind of Funds and They only Blame the DPP and other parties because MCP and UTM are both Corrupt Parties

Judie
Judie
1 month ago

Do you see what I see guys? HRDC has hibernated on NOKHA ALLIANCE gafment ills. They pretend to see non of what the church and other upright Malawians like Prof. Danwood Chirwa are seeing and raising questions. We said before that this is just a paramilitary wing of MCP. MYP ija yabweranso mwakachetechete in a different name. Right now HRDC/MYP is obsessed with persecuting DPP akuti zinazi alibe nazo attend as long as it’s not their enemy, DPP. But ‘izo okheee’!!

NYAU YA MSUNDWE
NYAU YA MSUNDWE
1 month ago

Prof. Danwood Chirwa ndiinu akatundu omanga ndi mawaya, mumatiimilira! At first, I had the impression that he is one of the so called “experts or social commentators” usually quoted by our media that either spew rubbish or are plain hand-clappers for some politicians or political parties. The guy has proved to mean ‘just good’ for Malawi. He speaks it as it is without fear or favour unlike the others that have now become irrelevant for their biased, ridiculous and unprofessional analyses/comments on public issues. Bravo Danwood, we want more professors like you to enlighten us on complicated matters like these… Read more »

Ngodya zinayi Nokha Alliance
Ngodya zinayi Nokha Alliance
1 month ago

a very broken country which has no hope of healing anytime soon.This is just a starter.The main course is still to come.

zenizeni
zenizeni
1 month ago

In Law we look at proximity of the case,and cost so if you look at this case guys Lets not talk of it.We Malawian wanted change because alot of things were Going wrong.Billions of kwacha’s were just individue cash cows,and again impunity,cashgates,nepotism on employment,lack of justice just to mention a few.Change on the other side is not cheap,you either pay with your life or more cost like it has happened.so please this is what we wanted to be rebalised…….please stop un neccessary alarms this is the price of poor decisions of DPP

The Knight Templar
The Knight Templar
1 month ago
Reply to  zenizeni

Very shameless thinking. So u folks are already intoxicated and cant reason properly.

Tan
Tan
1 month ago
Reply to  zenizeni

You must be a beneficiary

Real rights activist
Real rights activist
1 month ago
Reply to  zenizeni

Iwe nde mbuzi yeniyeni. Chitsiru kwabasi. Wandinyasa heavy unakakhala pafupi mbama yokha nkanakugaira

Alamu Pumani Mwakalamba

This is totally stupid. Danwood Chirwa just come back to Malawi and make the noise while here. Malawi was rescue from the jaws of predators of democracy and these are MEC and led by the most wicked woman in Malawi Jane Ansah and the old idiot who married a harlot Peter Muthalika. This is the cost and we celebrated victory and please just keep quiet. DPP did not want 50%+1 and we have it. We had a very clean Fresh Presidential Elections. We cleared the rubble. We disinfected dpp and their cadets. They are now in Guantanamo Bay self quarantine… Read more »

Trapence
Trapence
1 month ago

You are just immaturely irrational and sound bitter to the truth spoken by Danwood. Get used man, this is democracy! People will still pick out wrongs to right our democracy and you have no capacity to shut the up even if you re-introduce your one party dictatorship. Get a life.

Real rights activist
Real rights activist
1 month ago

Galu wachanechabe iwe eti. Kuganiza ngati nkhuku. U mean u cant see umbava wachitika apapa

Bwande
Bwande
1 month ago

You are missing the point. This is a mafia racket comprising the judges, Chakwera and Chilima stealing taxpayers money. Their lawyers said they had joined the case for free. Why are they asking for money?

FIFA
FIFA
1 month ago

Chakwera and Chilima have shown that they are corrupt. They will pay a HEAVY price.

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