Newly elected president of the Malawi Law Society (MLS), Mwiza Nkhata, has said he will work with the new committee to deliver on a five-point plan o to ensure the legal profession keeps its disciplined spirit and that practitioners remain mindful of all their ethical obligations.
Nkhata, an associate professor of Law at the University of Malawi was elected president of the MLS at the society’s annual general meeting (AGM) held last Saturday in Mangochi.
He has vowed to provide society’s leadership focusing on these five areas;
- Paying constant attention to the key welfare issues that affect lawyers and their work. Key here, I believe, would be engaging in robust consultations with various stakeholders to ensure that the conditions for practising the law remain optimal. This could include, among other things, ensuring that the society arranges regular continuing professional development seminars for lawyers and also ensuring that the hourly rates for the remuneration of lawyers are in line with the prevailing living conditions in the country. I strongly believe that if many of the welfare issues are attended to lawyers may also be more inclined to conduct themselves in line with their professional standards and ethics.
- Improving the relationship between the MLS, the Judiciary and the public at large. I am mindful that lawyers are not the only stakeholder in the work that the judiciary undertakes. As a matter of fact, the entire population in Malawi is a key stakeholder in the work that the Judiciary discharges. Nevertheless, lawyers are a crucial component in the work that the Judiciary undertakes. My view is that there are many clogs in the administration of justice in the country and some of them can be resolved simply by utilising more meaningful avenue for engagement between the various stakeholders in the judicial system. I pledge, therefore, to continue engaging with the Chief Justice and other relevant offices so as to work towards eliminating the fetters in the administration of justice.
- The society has key governance roles to play in this country. As a matter of fact, the society’s history establishes a distinguished pedigree in terms of the governance interventions that the Society has undertaken. My pledge is to keep the Society as a proactive actor in the various governance issues that affect this country.
- The society has a duty to maintain disciplinary oversight over its members. It is important for members of the public to understand how the disciplinary structures under the current law operate. Briefly, the society must work together with the Solicitor General, the Attorney General and even the Chief Justice to ensure that the full disciplinary provisions provided for under law are put into effect. I have promised to provide a leadership that will enable the society do its part in terms of ensuring that professional standards are maintained. This, as I have intimated, I cannot do alone or simply with my executive committee. I will, therefore, also be relying on the other offices legally mandated to help with this oversight function to ensure that we fulfill our legal mandate.
- I also wish to see the Society grow as an institution. To this end we are hoping we can identify resources that we can invest into the development of the capacity of our secretariat.