Just as everybody expected calmness on the legal front following the ease on impasse between the judicial staff and government, justice seekers in the troubled Malawi face new challenge-an impending increase in legal service charges, Nyasa Times can reveal.
Malawi courts, prosecutors and lawyers are working around the clock to ease the congestion of justice seekers in the country where nearly a quarter of the year has elapsed without any case being heard in court.
On the other hand, the men in wigs feel their service charge will have to rise too. Several prominent lawyers have indicated to Nyasa Times that “without denying an ordinary Malawians access to justice” the legal service charges will have to increase.
They indicate that costs have skyrocketed making it a real justification to raise the fees.
“We will have to lobby through our body, the Malawi Law Society to have the fees raised, it has been a while since we had the last revision but with the prevailing economic conditions the raise is inevitable,” said one lawyer.
Malawi Law Society (MLS) General Secretary Bright Theu while confirming the talk for revision of the legal services maintained that the discussions are still “informal”.
“It is an issue under consideration, the charges have not been revised yet as far as I know,” said Theu
He added that legal charges, which are prescribed by rules, take time to be revised.
“The last revision was in 2002, a decade ago, issue is under informal consideration, not yet even official and no revision yet.” he said.
Although Theu skirted around confirming the pressure faced on the legal front, the market is weighed down by increase in justice seekers, corporate ventures and closures leading to labour disputes, opening up of projects that need legal representations, banks pressing for payments from defaulters and the list is endless.