Advocates bid to challenge TLS resolution on EAC aborts

THE first attempt by three advocates to challenge a resolution of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) for members assuming compulsory membership to East Africa Law Society (EALS) and paying fees as mandatory conditions for renewal of their practicing license, has aborted.

This follows the decision of the High Court, Main Registry, to reject an application for leave to apply for judicial review lodged by the trio, Hekima Mwasipu, Frank Chundu and Deogratias Cosmas, the applicants, to oppose the resolution passed by the TLS Annual General Meeting on May 28, 2022.

Judge Moses Mzuna reached into a decision after allowing three grounds of objection presented by counsel for TLS, EALS and the Attorney General, the respondents, that the application was time barred, was prematurely filed and supporting affidavit was defective for containing erroneous matters.

On the issue of time barred, the judge noted that Rule 6 of the Law Reform (Fatal Accident and Miscellaneous Provisions) (Judicial review Procedure and Fees) Rules, G.N No. 324 of 2014 set a prerequisite condition for leave before application for judicial review.

“The leave to apply for judicial review shall not be granted unless the application for leave is made within six months after the date of the proceedings, acts or omission to which, the application for leave relates,” he said.

Judge Mzuna noted that the applicants in their application prayed for certiorari orders against the resolution made on May 2, 2022 and leave to file the application of certiorari to quash the TLS (Annual Subscriptions) Regulations, Government Notice No. 600 of October 14, 2022.

Furthermore, he noted, the applicants faulted the TLS Governing Council for acting illegally to enact the regulations empowering the bar association to expel or suspend any defaulting advocate.

“When then do we start to count for the six months for application under judicial review in the circumstances of this case? Is it from the date when the resolution was passed or when the GN was published?” the Judge asked.

He noted the counsel for the applicants was in consensus with the respondents that the resolution passed on May 2, 2022 was not final but the GN published on October 14, 2022 was final as the GN had already been published.

The Judge, however, observed that according to Rule 6 of the Rules, the application was to be filed in November, 2022 and not January 2023, thus based on prayer that the order for certiorari should quash resolution of AGM passed on May 28, 2022, the issue of publication came thereafter.

“So, the real act or omission must be from that date of May 28, 2022. The application for leave (lodged on January 26, 2023 was filed out of time and, therefore, the court is not properly moved,” the judge ruled.

In regard to the GN 600 of 2022 published on October 14, 2022, he noted its challenging of it was prematurely filed before the court as the time set out under Rule 6 had not lapsed.

According to him, the applicants ought to have exhausted other available internal remedies in the Tanganyika Law Society Act, before recourse to the court. “In the upshot, I sustain the preliminary objection (……). I therefore strike out the application with no order for costs,” the judge declared.

The applicants, Hekima Mwasipu, Frank Andrew Chundu and Deogratias Cosmas, are the registered Advocates of the High Court and courts subordinate thereto with Roles Numbers 5153, 3587 and 10205, respectively.

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