THE Attorney General (AG), Prof Adelardus Kilangi, has voiced his serious concern over alarming trends of malpractices and professional misconduct exhibited by some private advocates when attending their clients in the whole concept of dispensation of justice.
In his address at the admission ceremony of 558 new advocates to the bar at the grounds of the Law School of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on Friday, the AG explained that the number of complaints on professional misconduct against lawyers had been increasing from one year to another.
"Let me just share that in year 2017, the Advocates Committee which is one of the organs that oversee discipline of advocates, received 14 complaints, in the year 2018, twenty four complaints were received and 31 this year," Prof Kilangi said.
The AG said the increase in complaints was an indication that the people lawyers were serving had great expectations from them and were aware of their rights.
He pointed out that in the wake of the complaints, some of advocates were found guilty of misconduct and were disbarred.
He reminded the advocates in his address presented by Chief Draftsman Onorius Njole on his behalf, that they were required to adhere to the rules of professional conduct much of which had been taught and impacted to them by their lecturers at the university as well as the Law School of Tanzania.
“I must emphasize that being an advocate is not just a professional or a career path; an advocate is required to pay a vital role to oversee proper administration of justice. An advocate is an officer of the Court, hence he or she is bound by professional duty to the Court, clients and the general public,” he stated.
On his part, the President of the Tanganyika Law Society, Dr Rugemeleza Nshala, also reminded his fellow members of the bar that practicing law was not a right but a privilege, which comes with responsibilities and potential pitfalls.
Among the responsibilities, according to him, include the duty to serve the public ethically, diligently and competently.
“A lawyer without high ethical standards is an empty vessel and a danger to the society,” the TLS boss said.
He pointed out that where it not for the strict ethical code by which lawyers were required to conduct themselves, they would have no right to command a monopoly over the services they rendered in the practice of law nor would they enjoy the privilege of self-regulation.
“Law is a learned and noble profession. So, as you join it starting today, you do so on the solemn undertaking that you will act in accordance with the ethical code undergirding your distinguished office, which is to say that you will act professionally, diligently and ethically,” he told the new advocates.
Dr Nshalla also pointed out that anyone who enters the profession of law so that they may make good money enters it for the wrong reason and is bound ultimately to be unfulfilled.
“I am not saying it is wrong to make money out of your profession. Indeed, you should make a good living in the practice of law, but if that is your only goal, then far more deeply satisfying one, that is professional excellence, public service and inner peace amongst many will elude you,” he said.