MPs move to amend law to allow Rwanda, Burundi advocates practise locally
Lawyers from Rwanda and Burundi will be eligible to practice in Kenya if the Advocates (Amendment) Bill 2021 is signed into law.
The Bill, which was tabled yesterday for the First Reading by Majority Whip Emmanuel Wangwe, proposes amendments to the Advocates Act to include citizens of the two countries as being entitled for admission as an advocate in Kenya subject to acquiring requisite professional and academic qualifications.
The Bill was first tabled in Parliament in 2014 but was thrown out by the Court of Appeal citing lack of public participation.
“The objective of this Bill is, therefore, to amend the Advocates Act to allow the citizens of both Rwanda and Burundi to practice law after attaining the required criterion,” says the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Muturi Kigano (pictured), the mover of the Bill.
Successful lawyers from the two countries will have to sit and pass examinations set by the Council of Legal Education and any other qualifications acceptable to and recognised by the council.
It will also be mandatory for the lawyers from the two countries to practice locally for three months before being admitted to the bar.
But the bill is already facing fresh hurdles after MPs vowed to block Rwanda and Burundi lawyers from practising in the country until local advocates are allowed to work in the two countries on a reciprocal basis.
Some of the Kigano-led committee members want all East African member States to address the matter before Kenya can open trade in legal services to Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
Tanzania and Uganda lawyers are currently allowed to practise law in Kenya in accordance with provisions of Sections 12 and 13 of the Advocates Act.