Several Kenyans have lost their resources to someone who pretended to be a practicing lawyer. Therefore, ensure you learn how to identify a fake lawyer in Kenya to avoid being a victim. This article explains how to spot an unqualified attorney online.
I’ll also discuss the dos and don’ts when choosing a lawyer.
The Advocates Act (Cap 16) – The Law that Regulates Practicing Lawyers in Kenya
The Advocates Act (Cap 16) is the law that regulates the conduct of lawyers and the entire legal practice. It stipulates the qualifications of a genuine Kenyan lawyer. The Advocates Act (Cap 16) also outlines the consequences of acting as a lawyer when you are not.
The law says that a fake advocate should not ask for the payment of their services. Learn how to identify a fake lawyer in Kenya before you encounter them and give them crucial property or business documents.
According to Section 34 of the Advocates Act, crucial documents that a fake lawyer should never get hold of include:
- Property sale or purchase records
- Limited liability company formation documents
- Partnership deeds or dissolution agreements.
- Grants of probate documents
- Any documentation relating to a legal proceeding.
How to Identify a Fake Lawyer in Kenya Online
To identify a fake lawyer, you should peruse the web portal of the LSK (Law Society of Kenya). The portal keeps records of licensed lawyers and shows the firms they work with.
Here is how to use it:
- Navigate to the Law Society of Kenya’s Advocate Search Section
- Once on the web portal, type the “full name of the lawyer” you suspect to be fake. Hit “Search” and wait for results.
- If the lawyer is genuine, the portal will display their photo, practicing year, place of work, address, and current practicing status. If the lawyer is not genuine, the system will return the “No results found” message.
Note: The LSK web portal keeps the records of active and inactive lawyers. The latter represents lawyers who are no longer practicing because of losing their licenses, suspension, death, etc.
What to Do If You Meet a Fake Lawyer in Kenya
You have two remedies if you become a victim of an unscrupulous attorney in Kenya. First, report the case to the Advocates Complaint Commission to start the investigation and prosecution of the corrupt lawyer.
If the process slows down, try the Office of the Ombudsman.
To select the next law firm correctly, watch out for these Dos:
- Ask the advocate to show you their practicing certificate from the Law Society of Kenya.
- Since some lawyers can forge the LSK practicing certificate, follow the above steps to identify a fake Kenyan lawyer online.
- View the law firm’s registration documents and indemnity cover to verify its legality.
- Sign an engagement letter. This letter shows your agreement with the lawyer. This can include the service scope and the fees.
- As you provide copies of vital documents that would help shape your case, do it in writing. The company should acknowledge it has received your documents for the reasons you have agreed on.
As for things you should not do, never judge a lawyer based on their classy dress code or stylish office.
Also, do not deposit money or share confidential documents without signing an engagement letter first.