High Court Rules Against Nelson Havi’s Senior Bar Changes

The High Court in has stayed the Law Society of Kenya from doing fresh interviews for lawyers interested in being ranked as Senior Counsel.

In a ruling delivered on Friday, Lady Justice Pauline Nyamweya stopped the Nelson Havi-led council from effecting the decision to revoke the recommendations of the Committee on Senior Counsel made on August 26, 2019, pending, hearing and determination of the Applicants substantive Notice of Motion,” or until further orders of the Court.

The 22 lawyers affected, led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and former Justice Minister Martha Karua argue that LSK has no powers to quash or reverse a decision to confer them with the title.

The leave so granted shall operate as stay to the implementation of the respondent’s decision to revoke the recommendation of the committee of senior counsel made on August 26, 2019 to confer the rank and dignity of senior counsel to the applicants,” ruled Justice Nyamweya

The 9-member Committee on Senior Counsel chaired by Supreme Court judge Justice Mohamed Ibrahim had recommended the awarding of the Senior Counsel title to the 22 members. 

The LSK President led Council meeting on May 11, the nominations were revoked on the basis that they were never merited. LSK resolved to re-access the suitability of the 22 lawyers.

“The Council deliberated on this matter in a meeting held on May 11, 2020. It was resolved that the decision of the committee made on August 26, 2019, be set aside. The recommendation for the conferment of the 22 advocates was therefore revoked,” the President said.

Through their lawyer Chacha Odera, the 22 who include former Director of Public Prosecution Phillip Murgor, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo and former Mombasa mayor Taib Ali Taib complained that LSK ignored orders from the court in a separate case which barred it from acting on any decision by a committee on senior counsel.

In her ruling on Friday, Justice Nyamweya asked the lawyers to file and serve the LSK with substantive notices of motion within fourteen days with the matter slated for mention on June 6.

Kenya currently has 26 Senior Counsels. Lawyers eyeing the lucrative title include;

Rautta Athiambo, seasoned lawyer Fred Ngatia, Wilfred Nderitu, Prof Albert Mumma, Pravin Bowry, the former Assistant Director (Legal Services) of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACCA), John Chigiti, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Dorcas Oduor, family lawyer Judy Thongori, the former chief executive of the defunct Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Patricia Nyaundi, Kioko Kilikumi, renowned arbitrator John Ohaga and former Director of Public Prosecutions Philip Murgor.

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