WE agree with Justice Minister Given Lubinda’s view that the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) should not make the legal practitioners qualifying examination porous to quack professionals as it tries to improve on the pass rate.
It is also worth noting that world over law is considered to be one of the noblest professions and if this were allowed to happen, it would without doubt compromise the quality of legal practitioners in the country.
It cannot be denied that that there are few professions in the world today where adherence to the ethics of the calling is so strictly enforced and insisted upon as in the legal profession.
It is, however, sadly is true that despite all that has been said about the nobility of this profession there some legal practitioners whose conduct lives much to desired.
These are the ones the minister was referring to when he officiated at the second stakeholders’ consultative meeting to review the second draft of the student rules as contained in the Legal Practitioners Act.
“You in this profession owe it to society to provide high quality legal services. To have a multitude of quacks pretending to be providers of legal services is an injustice,” the minister observed.
Mr Lubinda could not have been further truth because stories abound of lawyers conniving with plaintiffs or defendants on how a case should go including deliberately not appearing before a session so that when judgment is passed in absentia, it tilts in a certain manner.
There have also been complaints about some lawyers conniving with some judges or magistrates to tilt certain judgments. These and other cases surely do not go very well for a profession which has enjoyed so much integrity.
As the minister observed what is obtaining now cannot be blamed on ZIALE alone, universities that train our lawyers should also take the blame because they are the entry point.
It is our hope therefore that deliberate measures will be put in place by these training institutions to safeguard the legal profession while ensuring that only well-qualified people are allowed to practice law in order to protect people’s rights.