Top lawyer slams corruption engulfing legal profession; says judiciary equally affected

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By Alois Vinga

RENOWNED lawyer, Lloyd Mhishi has taken a brave dig against surging reports of corruption within the legal profession, which has sadly encroached some sections of the judiciary on the back of calls for practitioners to observe ethics.

The eye-opening excerpts contained in Mhishi’s just published book titled “Being The Best Lawyer” navigates down a very sensitive path, which many lawyers would instead prefer to go unmentioned.

Exhibiting the courage of a lawyer, who has seen it all in a span of more than three decades of practice, the book warns that despite clear cut professional standards, reports of corruption in the legal profession remain topical.

“Unfortunately of late, the situation has continued to deteriorate. We hear of reports of unbridled corruption having become rampant and even permeating higher echelons of the judiciary itself.

“The other day, I was shocked that even some well-respected and senior advocates and attorneys may now be involved in paying for favourable judgments,” Mhishi says in the book.

The top lawyer warns that such behaviour only breeds a non- functional judicial system, which is only the harbinger of lawlessness and anarchy as he underscores that courts must remain the final and assured recourse which they cease to be when they are corrupted.

The book calls on lawyers who truly want to be successful, to be upright, professional and ethical and reminds the tainted practitioners that those who decide to stick to the right way of doing things may be the biggest losers if such conduct goes unabated.

“This made me sick as it was abhorrent and unacceptable. I was told that because of remuneration issues, some judges borrow money from advocates and inevitably when they appear before the same judges and argue the matter, they are secretly told, “Go write the judgment yourself.”

“I hope this is not true or that it is just a mere exaggeration; otherwise this would be the bane of the legal system as we know it,” reads the book.

The manuscript warns legal professionals against the risk of killing the profession and in the worst case scenario making it extinct.

“I always tell estate agents and lawyers; the continued existence of your profession is dependent on how you behave. You must always remain professional, ethical and of worthy conduct. Your existence depends on it.

“The powers-that-be or society itself can dispense with you if they realise that what you do can be done by them. Thus being bad is an existential threat to professions,” Mhishi said in the book.