Zambia

Zambian high court scraps lawyer from the roll of practitioners for dishonesty

A Zambian legal practitioner who failed to pay over money from his client intended to settle a bank loan, has been disciplined by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and has now been struck off the roll of practitioners by the high court. This was despite the disgraced lawyer’s claim that his client had settled matters amicably and that there was now no dispute between them. The court held that this did not matter: the court and the LAZ were obliged to investigate the lawyer’s behaviour regardless of whether the original complaint was withdrawn or not.

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It’s not often that courts are called upon to decide whether to remove a lawyer from the roll of practitioners. When it does happen, it’s such a public event, and with such potentially disastrous results, that you can be sure the lawyer concerned will put up a fight.

Key rulings have major implications for lawyers

Two recent decisions from the courts in Zambia have serious implications for lawyers. In one, the appeal court rescued legal practitioners from a decision of the high court that found lawyers in private practice weren’t allowed to accept full-time employment. In the other, the appeal court had strong words for lawyers representing clients on trial for criminal offences: they should be sure that fee arrangements were recorded in writing and that there was genuine negotiation between the two sides over what would be charged.

Read high court decision

Read appeal court decision

It was a case with serious implications for lawyers in private practice, after the high court unexpectedly found that legal practitioners weren’t allowed to accept full-time employment with a non-legal entity.

Wiser to restrain ongoing activity than risk irreparable damage to the environment – Zambian judge

Two Tanzanian-owned entities operating on the edge of a significant national park in Zambia, have been ordered to stop cutting down trees, clearing vegetation or putting up constructions at least until the dispute between them and the trust running the reserve is resolved. The judge hearing the application for an interim order against the two entities said that the status quo ‘should not be maintained. It would be wiser to restrain ongoing activity rather than risk irreparable damage to the environment.’

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In what could prove the preliminary to a crucial conservation-related battle, perhaps even one of the most important environmental law disputes of the year for Zambia, the high court in Lusaka has ordered two Tanzanian-owned ventures on the edge of a national park, to stop cutting down trees, clearing vegetation or putting up any further constructions.

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