Hiked legal fees will hit poor Zambians – ZCSD

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:19:30 +0000




THE increase of legal fees by an astronomical margin will significantly affect access to justice for the poor and marginalized Zambians, says Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) executive director Lewis Mwape.

Mr Mwape said that a lot of Zambians still found it difficult to access legal services at the old rate before the hike.

He said in an interview with the Daily Nation that Zambian lawyers were very expensive and that the situation had now been worsened by the hike in fees of up to 500 percent in some cases.

Mr Mwape noted that most of the poor and marginalized people would be sidelined from the pool of justice as they would not afford to get themselves a good lawyer to represent them in the courts of law.

He said the increase in legal fees came at a wrong time as it did not put into consideration the plight of the vulnerable people.

Mr Mwape charged that the hike in fees had infringed poor people’s right to justice because they would not be able to access proper legal presentation.

“Even before the increase, a large percentage of the Zambian people still found it difficult to hire lawyers to represent them in court. And now the fees have been increased without consideration for these people. Their right to justice has already been infringed,” he said.

Mr Mwape said that justice should not just be for rich people while the poor were ‘‘left to hang even for matters they were not guilty of’’.

He pointed out that statistics had indicated that over 8 million of the Zambian population were living in extreme poverty.

Mr Mwape pointed out that most of the poor people would now start to shun seeking justice from the courts because the high legal fees made the playing field unfair.

He noted that even before the hike wealthy individuals could find their way out of guilty situations because they could afford a smart lawyer.

Mr Mwape warned that the increase in legal fees would also lead to the increase in injustices against the marginalized people.


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