The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has openly disagreed with President Michael Sata over the process and procedure of conferring individuals with the status of State Counsel (SC).
This follows reports that President Sata today intends to confer the status of State Counsel on three Lawyers John Sangwa, Robert Simeza and Mumba Kapumpa.The awards have caused ire and controversy because the President did not follow procedure as required by the law and the awards it only became known through a cabinet office circular made in preparation for the award ceremony expected to be held today at State House.
The Association was apparently not consulted as required by law and procedure in the awards.
LAZ has since warned that should the association during consultation processes, express an opinion that a particular Practitioner did not meet certain benchmarks warranting him to attain such a position, but the practitioner is nevertheless appointed, the association would openly denounce such an appointment.
“The Council of the Law Association of Zambia has taken the position that should the association, during the consultation process, express an opinion that a Practitioner should not be granted the honour and dignity of State Counsel, but the said Practitioner is nevertheless granted such honour and dignity then the association will send a notification to the membership and the public as to why the association did not see it fit to recommend the appointment. This will apply also to those appointed without following the procedure stipulated above. The association will reserve its rights in all respects pertaining to such appointments.” she said.
Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) Honorary Secretary Linda Kasonde said that lawyers seeking to be conferred with the position of State Counsel should be of good standing in society and among others, must demand respect within the (Legal) profession.
In a statement made available to the Daily Nation yesterday, Ms. Kasonde said that the procedure for the appointment of any lawyer to the position of State Counsel must be considered, adding that conferring anyone (lawyers) the State Counsel rank must be granted on merit and not due to any other considerations.
Ms. Kasonde said that the Legal Practitioner’s Act was clear on the appointment of individuals wishing to be conferred with the rank of State Counsel and therefore, the association would not accept any circumvention from the principal.
“We wish to draw the attention of members and the general public to the law regarding the appointment of State Counsel. Section 17 of the Legal Practitioner’s Act provides the procedure for the appointment as follows, 17. (1) any practitioner wishing the rank and dignity of a State Counsel for Zambia to be conferred upon him shall submit his application, accompanied by the recommendation of two State Counsel, in that behalf to the Attorney General,” he said.
She also said that upon receiving the application of individual (s) wishing to be honored with the position of State Counsel, the Attorney General shall, after consultation with the Chief Justice and the Law Association of Zambia, make a recommendation to the president.
“(2) On receiving such an application, the Attorney-General shall, after consultation with the Chief Justice and the (Law) Association (of Zambia), make such recommendation thereon to the President as he thinks fit, and the President may, after taking such recommendation into consideration, in his discretion, either reject the application or, subject to the other provisions of this Act, appoint, by Letters Patent under the Seal of the Republic, the applicant a State Counsel for Zambia,” she explained.