By PETER SICHALI
LEGAL fees are too high for ordinary Zambians, Zambian DNA spokesperson, Spuki Mulemwa has said.
Mr Mulemwa said the fees charged by lawyers had remained high and were an impediment to accessing justice.
He said the current legal fees were not only expensive for the poor but also for the middle-class citizens and there was need to reverse the negative trend.
“The existence of legal aid services are not even felt and, in any case, not even publicised in the country. Very few people know who is entitled to these services and what type of cases the Legal Aid Board is interested in,” he said.
Mr Mulemwa said some citizens could still not afford to get legal aid services due to demand of some administrative costs from clients.
He said the high legal costs had maimed the justice system and access was only for those with money.
“There is need to make justice not a commodity but a service for all. Otherwise, high legal fees have been prohibitive to access to justice and contributory to shrinking democratic space,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Abyud Shonga said the current legal fees were in line with Statutory Instrument.
Mr Shonga said the Legal Practitioners Act provides for Statutory Instruments (SI) that regulate legal fees.
“Lawyers are regulated by statues even the legal fees are regulated and I can assure that the current legal fees are in line with SI number 6 of 2017,” Mr Shonga said.
He said the current SI that regulates legal fees was passed in 2017.
“The current SI number 6 of 2017 regulates legal fees. meaning that scale of fees that lawyers can charge was last reviewed in 2017,” Mr Shonga said.