THE RISK OF NOT KNOWING

When asked if he could see anything, the blind man at Bethsaida replied, “I see people, but they look like trees walking around.”

We connect that with the birth of how we have become to be, presently. Previously, we were lawlessness, the order was as the day became. What you thought, what you said, what you behaved, what you liked, what you did became the law of the day. It was applied and people saw it to be a harsh reality. Cries after cries, problems after problems, revenge after revenge and a never ending fight. Blows and kicks, slaps and striking with knifes and blades.

Tired of living to such a state came the origin of the social contract theory.

Social contract theory is where people gave up their rights to everyday living to a group of people called the government who were then to justly govern them by providing rules of engagement where at end’s day everybody becomes happy. In return for ensuring happiness to them by the government, the people were to contribute monies in the form of taxation and give it to the government for orderly business operation of the day to day activities of them being governed.

With that we all strive for peace, for existence but what that is is different from the other. We are like two peas in a pod. Different to the meaning of what living is. One is polite and understanding while the other is rude, forceful, vengeful and to another the ends justifies the means even if it is illegal. They do not care, as long as they get what they want.

As if cornered into a desert, searching for a little grasp of anything living to at least survive your life, you so choose to head to where the saviour is, where peace and defender is and mixed with just and promising to ensure you to smile.

This all is the journey of an individual with a dispute whom we will call, a litigant, they want a day in court to be helped and assisted. While their intention may be to promote peace, it is important for them to ensure that the legal representative they choose is qualified to represent their case effectively.

It is the assumption that everyone whom you engage to represent you in court is an advocate.

An advocate is the lawyer who represents people in court and for one to be called that they must be:

  1. Admitted as an advocate

You get admitted after passing the Council of Legal Education courses and also after going through a training of six months. It is called pupillage, but we can call it as “internship” for understanding it better.

  1. The person’s name is on the Roll of advocates.
  1. Finally is one having a practicing certificate.

These requirements of being an Advocate are mandatory and are not ambiguous. The net effect to that not being the situation then the case that was started or represented becomes nothing, it was as if it never existed.

Imagine the harm that would come, if for example you want to stop a demolition of your house by the State. You go to court and you receive an Order only for the court to later on discover that the Advocate who represented you was not actually an Advocate. Highly likely that the house will be demolished.

You might say, “but I did not know that law existed? That they were falsely saying they were an Advocate” Say no more, you will be told, “ignorance of the law is no defense.”

How do you ensure that who represents you in court is qualified to do the same? Simple, have with you network and a mobile phone, tablet or a laptop and click to: https://online.lsk.or.ke/ and type the name of the individual. All will be defined on who the advocate is. You will be given a name, a registration number and if whether the practicing certificate is active for that year or not.

The going concern though currently is the high rise of quacks in the profession who undertake identity theft of advocates and portray themselves as being advocates.

One thing to be noted is that it happens when one registers for the Council of Legal Education exams, they do provide a telephone number. Perhaps it is high times that this number used during registration of the exams be used as a security feature.

Whereby, immediately the first time that one is welcomed into the Law Society of Kenya website as a newly admitted Advocate for purposes of creating an account, this telephone number be the second step verification where a code is sent and one has to confirm that they are them by inputting that code.

It might happen that sometimes due to forces of nature beyond us we lose our telephone numbers either through theft of one’s mobile phone number or something else. When such a scenario happens it becomes difficult when that verification code is sent. The answer to such recovery of the verification code is by providing a new telephone number, the recent one. Whereby before providing your new telephone number, you will be asked to answer a security question which you had earlier on given when registering for exams with the Council of Legal Education. For example it might: what is your Ma’s name?

These are just suggestions of the security features to be used or added. It is well.

Image by Edward Lich from Pixabay

REFERENCES

  1. On Bethsaida

Mark 8: 22-26

  • On Social Contract Theory

Britannica, “Social Contract,” <https://www.britannica.com/topic/social-contract> accessed on 21st February 2023.

  • On Advocates

Section 9 of the Advocates Act

*On section 9 being of mandatory terms: Abdul Aziz Juma v Nikisuhi Investment and 2 Others [2013] eKLR

  • On ignorance of the law

Yusuf Gitau Abdalla v. The Building Society (K) Ltd & 4 others, Petition 23 of 2014, the Supreme Court said:

“Even as the Court seeks to do justice, it cannot be lost to it that despite having a conscience, it is a court of law and not of mercy. It is also bound by the law and more so the Constitution which binds all. The Petitioner cannot be excused even on the pretext that he did not know this jurisdictional boundaries. A reading of the documents he has submitted to this Court shows that he describes himself inter alia as a printing consultant by profession with the ability to speak seven languages. Be it as it may, it is a legal principle that ignorance of the law is no defence. Hence the petitioner cannot with any iota of excuse, claim he did not know this….”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *