Lawyers fight

A war has erupted between the 18 Law firms representing acting chief justice Lombe Chibesakunda and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) which demanded her removal from office.

This follows a decision by LAZ to discipline the “rogue” 18 law firms for going against the resolutions of the LAZ extraordinary general meeting which was held on 24th August 2013 at the Mulungushi international conference centre in Lusaka where it was resolved that the acting chief justice should vacate office within 30 days failure by which the association would take the matter to court, which has been done.

The 18 lawyers then decided to defend her against the suit brought by the association and have now sued the LAZ council in an effort to stop the association from disciplining them.

The firms were asked to recuse themselves from representing Lombe Chibesakunda but the firms refused and subsequently LAZ honorary secretary (Midlands) for the Legal Practitioners Committee Silas Mambwe lodged a complaint with the legal practitioners committee of LAZ stating that the LAZ council felt that by accepting to represent the acting chief justice the 18 law firms offended part VII of the Practice Rules generally and particularly Rules 32(1)(a) and 33(1)(d).

The law firms were given five days to respond failure to which the Committee would proceed to hear and determine the complaint in the absence of their response.

The Committee was scheduled to hear the complaint tomorrow, Friday 13th December 2013 at 11:00 hours at the Ndola Council Chamber.

Lead lawyer for the 18 law firms Bonaventure Mutale of Ellis & Co yesterday filed an application for committal for contempt of court to restrain the committee from taking disciplinary action against them.

In his affidavit in support of notice of motion for committal in the Lusaka High Court, Mutale stated that on 3rd December 2013 LAZ had filed an application for an Order directing all advocates representing the acting chief justice Lombe Chibesakunda to recuse themselves from the proceedings.

He said the application was scheduled to be heard by the deputy registrar of the Kitwe High Court on 14th February 2014.

Mutale further contended that on 5th December 2013, the LAZ Council laid before its Legal Practitioners Committee, whose members were appointed by the Council a complaint against all the law firms on record as representing the acting chief justice on the pretext that their conduct offends part VII of the Legal Practitioners’ Practice Rules.

He said also that on the same day the Committee wrote to the law firms indicating that the complaint would be heard and determined on the 13th December 2013.