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Lawyers want stake in law making

Publishing Date : 17 February, 2020

Author : GOITSEONE SEVEN

Chairman of the Law Society of Botswana (LSB), Diba Diba has announced at the opening of the legal year, that the Society has made a decision to play an active role to engage in bills of Parliament before they are made into law. Diba later told WeekendPost that as a lawyers they have realised that they have not been actively involved in advising Parliament in law making.


He further explained that this is a pivotal role that should have been long practiced by lawyers. “Instead of being reactive to laws passed we need to make sure we are involved in the later stage of such developments. Bills passed in Parliament are usually advertised in the Botswana Gazette and we have not been doing anything to contribute considering the nature of our profession,” Diba clarified. He further noted that a formal relationship with the Parliament of Botswana as lawyers will be something that will be considered and explored in the near future.


In last year’s 11th Parliament, 109 bills were passed and were to be endorsed into laws. A total of 312 questions were answered and over 100 questions were responded to because of time constraints and over 23 motions were debated.Amongst the bills the House passed were: the National Assembly Salaries and Allowances Amendment Bill, Transfer Duty Amendment Bill, Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill, Capital Transfer Tax Amendment Bill, Income Tax Amendment Bill, Botswana Teaching Professionals Bill.


Diba explained that the involvement of lawyers in the passing of laws will be a major development as this will help prevent unconstitutional laws being made. Currently the law of Parliament is in such a manner that only the sitting President is allowed to make the last call in passing the laws.


LAWYERS WARNED AGAINST OVERCHARGING CLIENTS

In his speech at the opening of the legal year, Diba further warned against some of the unscrupulous legal practitioners who overcharge members of the public even though they are not necessarily in the majority. He worried that the notoriety of a few bad apples will invariably get the most attention. “Overcharging may amount to serious professional misconduct (overreaching) and depending on the amount involved a legal practitioner may be disbarred if found guilty,” he said.


However, Chairman of the LSB assured that the new rules that are before Chief Justice will set out fees by legal practitioners. “The rules will also, we believe, remove the challenge of the repeated court attendances that currently prevail. These contribute significantly to the increase in the cost of litigation.”

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