Malawi lawyers should be beyond reproach

The revelation that some lawyers have been swindling their clients and others have been involved in outright theft is damaging to theprofession.Lawyers the world over are held in high esteem and they are expected to behave exemplary all the time. They are part of the justice system and people in trouble with the law including criminals rush to them for legal services.

Some Malawi lawyers

It was embarrassing when the Malawi Law Society (MLS) named and shamed errant lawyers. It is unfortunate that some lawyers have been swindling clients’compensation. Some of them even invest clients’ money in short term financial products such as fixed depositand make extra money out of their poor clients

According to media reports, the names should have been published last year. But the MLS was withholding the names, ostensibly to defend their fellow lawyers.By hiding their names the MLS was placing their members above anyone else and was sending the message that their members should not be exposed no matter how they behave.

Lawyers know the law better and should be exemplary.The word “justice” is constantly on their lips.  But why should they demand justice from others when they equally behave unprofessionally. It is only fair that the Attorney General and the Solicitor General recommended that unethical and unprofessional lawyers should pay for their sins. Surely, no one is above the law.

While lawyers are human beings and have their own weaknesses, it is the deliberate attempt to shield theirwrongdoing that is disappointing. If people from other professions are exposed for their unprofessional conduct, why not lawyers?  From media reports, the list would not have been published if the Solicitor General Dr Janet Banda did not put her foot down to have the list published.

She is quoted as ‘confirming that the publication of the notice follows her refusal to chair further meetings of the disciplinary committee to force the publication of the notice.” This means that the MLS has been trying all it could to block the notice. The date of the notice (30 September 2016) speaks volumes how the MLS had been trying to protect their fellow lawyers. By protecting their members, the mother body was making their members above the law. They were made untouchables.

The Solicitor General and the Attorney General should be commended for their stand to publicise and prosecute some errant lawyers. Government should not tolerate lawyers who swindle their clients or behave in a manner inimical to their profession. Malawi needs lawyers of high integrity and be role models to the society because they are torch bearers of justice. This should serve as a lesson to other lawyers that they will be exposed for any unacceptable behaviour.

We know that some lawyers have been shortchanging their clients for some time and have been getting away with it because they were shielded by their mother body. Both the Law Society and government should work out a mechanism for members of the public to report unethical and unprofessional lawyers.

The issue of legal fees also needs to be seriously looked into.Generally, legal services are high. However, some lawyers overcharge their services.  Many Malawians are unable to access justice because they cannot afford the exorbitant fees. Some lawyers can charge as much as K200 000 to offer their services. How many Malawians can manage such high fees?No wonder the majority of the people are unable to access the legal services. Because of high legal services, many lawyers have become millionaires within a short period, buying flashy vehicles at the expense of their clients.

The MLS will do Malawians a great service if it can checkthe high legal fees and swiftly takes action against its aberrant members without being pressurised.

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5 years ago

These people are thieves and wife snatchers. In Malawi if you want to be rich easily you better join either politics or legal profession…Period! It is sad to see the so called learned guys swindling poor people in the name of justice. I bet you, 98% of lawyers are thieves and it will be prudent for MLS to shame these thieves regularly. In Blantyre there is one lawyer who is driving a very expensive Benz and is building a multi-million house along Sanjika road. I was puzzled how much he get as fees from clients looking at the cost of… Read more »

5 years ago

A lawyer we decided to ask for help buying 2 plots in Lilongwe helped trickters and ate 90% of our money stolen.
The thieves are arrested in Maula for eating around 1 million out of almost 12 million we paid for the 2 plots.
The lawyer in conjunction with people at the regional land office provided false documents.
We are now wasting time in court for 2 poor thieves when the people who ate 10 million are untouchable

5 years ago

The truth is that many rush into law thinking that it will make them instant millionaires! And indeed it makes them so through blood money! I for one simbdisilira chuma chakuba! Bravo to Dr Janet Banda!

# I am Your Next President

The list that was published is too short,what i do not follow is how can only two Attorneys be disbarred? does this mean that the two are the only Attorneys that were swindling their clients the whole off Malawi ? My opinion, the MLS too has been very unfair on that matter.There are a lot of Attorneys out there that the MLS knows off that are even doing worse things than these that have been exposed. even those who are in the disciplinary committee they too are the worst of the worst. I am not again the MLS but this… Read more »

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