JIMMY CHIBUYE, Lusaka
TWELVE out of 267 candidates who sat for the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) July 2014 final examinations have been admitted to the legal bar as advocates of the High Court.
And Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda said aspiring and junior lawyers need adequate mentorship from senior advocates for them to uphold seminal values of the law profession.
The admittance of the 12 new advocates brings the number of lawyers admitted to the bar to 150 over the last 22 months covering the period February 2013 to December 2014.
Speaking during the call day yesterday, ZIALE director Enoch Mulembe said there are several factors which contribute to the low pass rate.
Mr Mulembe urged Zambians to criticise ZIALE constructively without demeaning the integrity of the lecturers.
He said ZIALE lecturers have come under unwarranted attacks on social media due to the low pass rate and that if citizens have issues to raise, they should do so with some measure of respect.
â€œThere are several factors that contribute to the low pass rate and if people cared to investigate objectively, they would discover that some of these are beyond ZIALE and instead, call into question the quality and standards of our entire education system,â€ he said.
Mr Mulembe said the 12 advocates, who passed the Legal Practitioners Qualifying Examinations (LPQE) at first attempt were joined by one who was unable to petition for admission last year because she went abroad to pursue her post graduate studies in law.
And Ms Justice Chibesakunda said senior lawyers of considerable years are concerned about the evaporating sense of legal community and commitment to the influential values of the profession.
â€œThe number of lawyers joining the legal profession is comparatively bigger than a few years ago. What is worrying is whether there are sufficient senior counsels to provide adequate mentorship to each one of the new lawyers that are joining the profession,â€ she said.
Ms Justice Chibesakunda said for the profession to maintain the nobility it has attained over the years, the importance of mentorship should never be overlooked.
Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) vice president Linda Kasonde advised the new advocates to adhere to the Constitution adding that courtesy and decorum are also expected of them.
JIMMY CHIBUYE, Lusaka