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The East African : Jan 19th 2015
30 The EastAfrican OUTLOOK JANUARY 17-23,2015 D E VE LO PME N T Law societies study legal demands in bid to launch cross-border service EAC ≥esidents will then pay unifo≥m fees fo≥ se≥vices ≥ende≥ed by lawye≥s By JAMES ANYANZWA The EastAfrican are charged across the borders as a step towards setting qualifications for their members to practise across the region. This will help EAC residents L to pay uniform fees for services rendered by lawyers and also reduce complications in the movement of the professionals across the region. The move comes barely a year after Kenyan lawyers raised their fees by nearly 50 per cent in April 2014 opening up a wide gap ahead of their regional counterparts. This meant Kenyan lawyers seeking contracts outside the country could be forced to take pay cuts as the region’s labour market finds its balance in terms of supply and pay structure under the Common Market Protocol. The protocol which was signed in 2010 seeks to liberalise groups of service sectors for easy access by job seekers in the region and open up competition for jobs in communication, distribution, education, tourism, transport and financial services. Top on the list are business- related services such as advertising, architectural, accountancy, legal and computer services. The East African has learnt that a memorandum of understanding to this effect has been drafted and discussions are underway to iron out differences among the members on the proposed move. James Mwamu, the first Presi- dent of the East African Law Society (EALS) said that an agreement was drawn on October 30, 2014 in Dar es Salaam and tabled before members during an annual general meeting in Kigali in November but the members asked for time to review it. “The members are currently studying and analysing it with a view of approving it during the AGM in Zanzibar this year. However there are various views on the proposal with some members demanding that legal fees be determined by market forces and not be capped. Those are the issues we are working on.” The bar leaders include the Law Society of Kenya, Uganda Law Society, Rwanda Bar Association, Burundi Bar Associa- Lawyers take oath before being admitted as advocates of the High Court at the Supreme Court of Kenya. Soon lawyers will be able to work all over the region. Picture: File tion, Tanganyika Law Society and Zanzibar Law Society working under the aegis of the EALS. “The issue of harmonisation of legal fees is one of the areas that has been looked at and agreed upon,” said Mr Mwamu. The LSK chairman Eric Mu- tua however denied knowledge of any negotiations. “I am not aware of such a memo. There is no such understanding. We just reviewed our remuneration order last year,” he said. Plans are underway for law- yers within the EAC to start practising across borders without limitations following the drafting of a Mutual Recognition Agreement for lawyers. The agreement provides that the EAC member states settle on similar qualifications for legal practitioners in the region. Mr Mwamu said once The issue of harmonisation of legal fees is one of the areas that has been looked at and agreed upon.” James Mwamu former president EALS approved,“The member states will have to review their respective laws to ensure there are no laws that are hostile or are an impediment to cross border legal services.” He said all partner states have already made a commitment to this agenda with exception of Tanzania whose laws already have provisions for cross-border legal services. Last year Kenya’s Chief Jus- tice Willy Mutunga gazetted the Review of the Advocates Remuneration (Amendment) Order, 2014, which increased the fees charged by lawyers in areas such as conveyance, filing of suits, registration of trademarks and debt collection. The order also set new fees for preparation of leases, agreements for leases and tenancy agreements, which increased by at least 35 per cent. For instance under the revised rates an individual buying FEES LAWYERS CHARGE FOR KENYA: Fees for preparation of leases, agreements for leases and tenancy agreements increased by at least 35 per cent. Under the revised rates an individual buying a Ksh5 million ($55,555) property would pay a lawyer two per cent of the value. The fees paid to the vendor’s advocate who does not prepare the letters of agreement, heads of agreement or the agreement for sale was cut by a third. IN UGANDA: Vendors advocate for deducing title to freehold or leasehold property and perusing and completing conveyance, including preparation of contracts on conditions of sale (if any) charge 15 per cent on the first Ush 1 million ($351) 10 per cent on the values ranging from Ush10,000 ($3.51) to Ush100,000 ($35.11) and 10 per cent to values of over Ush20 million ($7,022.84) IN TANZANIA,negotiating the purchase of property by private contract valued between Tsh200,000($1.16) and TSh300,000($2) is paid 10 per cent of the value of the transaction between Tsh500,000 ($3) and TSh1 million ($6) is given five per cent and between Tsh1 million($6) and Tsh3 million($18) is eligible for three per cent a Ksh5 million ($55,555) property would pay a lawyer two per cent of the value compared with the previous charges of 1.5 per cent. Other changes included in- creasing the fee paid on filing a new suit valued at Ksh200, 000($2,222) and Ksh50,000 ($555) to Ksh45,000 ($500) from Ksh28,000 ($311). In Uganda, vendors advocate for deducing title to freehold or leasehold property and perusing and completing conveyance (including preparation of contracts on conditions of sale (if any) charge 15 per cent on the first Ush 1 million ($351) 10 per cent on the values ranging from Ush10,000 ($3.51) to Ush100,000 ($35.11) and 10 per cent to values of over Ush20 million ($7,022.84) The vendors advocate in re- lation to commission for successfully negotiating a sale of property by private treaty earns 15 per cent on the first Ush1 million ($351), 10 per cent on val- ues from Ush 1 million ($351) to Ush20 million ($7,022.84) and five per cent on a value of over Ush20 million ($7,022.84). In Tanzania a lawyer is al- lowed to receive a special fee in addition to the remuneration. A lawyer may also charge in- terest at 12 per cent per annum on his disbursements and allowable costs from the delivery of his bill to the client, provided that such claim for interest is raised before the amount of the bill has been paid or tendered in full. A lawyer may accept from his client and his client may give to his advocate security for the amount to become due to the advocate for the remuneration and disbursements in business to be transacted or being transacted by him A review of some of the charg- es by lawyers in Tanzania shows that an advocate is paid three per cent of the value of the transaction for negotiating a sale of immovable property by private contract. aw societies in East Africa are reviewing how legal fees Nyimu≥ a≥ea gets wate≥ g≥ant of $2m By JAMES ANYANZWA The EastAfrican THE AFRICAN WATER FACILITY (AWF) has offered a €1.97 million ($2.32 million) grant to the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme to increase water availability for multiple purposes in Nyimur region of Uganda and South Sudan. The grant will support the improvement of irrigated agriculture, fisheries, electricity generation and sanitation as well as the prevention of flooding and drought in the region. On January 9, AWF said the grant would help the construction of a multipurpose dam and a reservoir on the Nyimur River through feasibility studies, engineering design studies and environmental and social impact assessments. The planned infrastruc- ture investment will allow 5,105 hectares to be irrigated through a community irrigation scheme, and produce 350 kW of electricity from a small hydropower facility. 12,000 The number of people the Nyimur project is directly expected to benefit The project will directly ben- efit about 12,000 people. The AWF will also support the mobilization of funds from donors through project preparation and fundraising activities such as donors’ roundtables. “The project will improve the livelihoods of surrounding communities by reducing the ravages of flooding and droughts, as well as foster food and energy security and in the long run help consolidate peace and security in this fragile region” said AWF co-ordinator Akissa Bahri. The Nyimur River runs through both South Sudan and Northern Uganda, an area plagued by conflict from the late 1980’s until 2004. Although the guns have gen- erally fallen silent, the region is still considered fragile. The unrest in the region resulted in very low levels of investment and development of basic services or infrastructure. Agricultural production declined during the period of turmoil and the current level of food insecurity is significant in low yield seasons, 33 per cent of the population in the area is dependent on food aid.
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