Lawyers Clash Over Fees

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The Namibia Lawyers Association (NLA), an association of black lawyers, is expected to meet today to review its relationship with the Law Society’s Council. This follows recent media reports that Namibian black lawyers are charging exorbitant legal fees. A member of the NLA who spoke on condition of anonymity told New Era that many members of the NLA are extremely disappointed that their legal fees were deliberately leaked to the media by their white colleagues in order to portray black lawyers as greedy and corrupt. The NLA members stated that they are unhappy that the Namibia Law Society has been reluctant to defend its own tariffs. They have accused the society of hypocrisy in the interpretation and application of its tariff guidelines. The relationship between the Namibia Law Society and NLA turned sour almost two months ago after media reports highlighted legal practioners’ bills in relation to mainly the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) disciplinary and Avid/SSC hearing report. The reports indicated that Windhoek-based lawyers Nate Ndauendapo and Lucius Murorua initially charged the NDC N$646 000 and N$657 000 respectively for their services. The two lawyers claimed that their bills were in accordance with the Law Society’s tariffs but the Law Society somewhat distanced itself from this and has failed to defend the two lawyers. The member of the NLA further hinted that some members are considering passing a motion of no-confidence in the Law Society Council. “We are even considering requesting an amendment of the Act that compels all lawyers to be members of the Law Society.” He added that the NLA would also look at general racism within the profession and take a closer look at transformation in the profession. “The white lawyers have been enjoying these fees alone all the time and are finding a problem that they have to share the cake with black lawyers,” said a black lawyer. The lawyer added that the NLA, at the meeting, would also formulate a proper response to the recent media reports and decide on the way forward for the NLA.

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