Revise unaffordable legal fees

JUSTICE will continue to be a preserve of the rich as long as high legal fees are not revised downwards in the country, says Zambia Volunteers Network (ZVN) president Gerald Chiluba.

He said in an interview yesterday that it was regrettable that some unscrupulous individuals have personalised institutions that are intended to benefit the general public and that a lot of innocent people have continued to languish in prisons as they could not afford a lawyer.

Mr Chiluba called on the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) to review legal fees.

He also said LAZ should investigate why ZIALE continued to produce a low pass rate of lawyers.

“Justice continues to be a preserve of the rich in our society while the underprivileged are denied justice as few if any can afford to pay a lawyer to represent them in court,” Mr Chiluba said.

He said the issue of high legal fees had brought about classes in society.

Mr Chiluba said such inequalities must not be entertained in society.

He said there was need to put in place deliberate policies that would mitigate the negative impacts such as the stalling of cases before the courts and congestion in prisons.

Mr Chiluba said the call for lower legal fees in Zambia was a genuine cry.

Recently, the Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA) urged law firms to offer free representation or pro –bono (voluntary) services to clients as it was a requirement that they carried out 30 cases per month.

PRISCA executive director Godfrey Malembeka bemoaned the lack of  adherence to the pro-bono services.

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