Aocates face probe for imposing services on property buyers

Scores of aocates and law firms risk sanctions following claims that they were colluding with property developers to impose their services on buyers.

Law Society of Kenya (LSK)hief executive Apollo Mboya said some lawyers and law firms had prepared joint purchase offer letters that imposed aocates on buyers contrary to the practice rules.

“It has come to the attention of the Council of the Law Society of Kenya that certain developers in collusion of some aocates and or law firms have designed their letters of offer whose terms and conditions impose aocates to act for purchasers,” he said in a memo.

He said the practice popularly known as conveyancing violated the principle of and right to independent counsel and legal aice.

“In the premises any aocate involved in such practice should forthwith cease and or ask their names to be removed from such letters of offer failure to which the council shall proceed to take disciplinary action against them,” Mr Mboya said.

Rule 2 of the Aocates (Practice) Rules of 1996 bars aocates from directly or indirectly applying for or seeking instructions for professional business, which would be regarded as touting.

Lawyers are also barred from clamouring for services by rule 2 of the Aocates (Marketing and Aertising) Rules 2004 which states that an aocate is not allowed to unfairly apply for or unfairly seek instructions for professional business.

Rule 10 of the Aocates (Marketing and Aertising) Rules 2004 also outlaws aocates from using intermediaries to solicit for business.

“There is no objection to the insertion in conditions of, or contract for, a sale of land of an express provision requiring either party to pay the costs of the other party, provided that each party is left to employ his own aocate in each transaction.

“It is improper to suggest that the aocate be employed by the other party,” Rule 7 of the Law Society Digest on professional conduct and etiquette further stated.

Land and property prices around most urban areas such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu have lately hit the roof, making transactions involving them an attraction for aocates and law firms.

The latest claims against lawyers and law firms come in the wake of ongoing investigations into claims of massive undercutting in the legal profession amid growing protests by deal losers.