Law society refocuses

HARARE - The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) says it is refocusing on its fundamental role of regulating the legal profession after years of tackling President Robert Mugabe’s government over democratic and other civil rights issues.

This comes as the decades-old institution has often been accused by the Harare administration of dabbling in politics over its socio-politic inclinations and programmes.

“LSZ is now back to its traditional role. It has not been easy, but we are pleased that the improving environment has released us from over-commitment to human rights and rule of law,” association president Tinoziva Bere said in the 2012 and year-end report.

“One of my major priorities… was to improve the financial stability and independence of the society. The ultimate aim was to ensure the LSZ budget is centrally financed by members. This I believed would strengthen the independence of the legal profession,” he said, adding this objective had been met.

To this end, the Harare-based institution was refocusing on strengthening its governance structures, financial position and other issues or functions by restructuring its full-time secretariat.

Other priorities, included the provision of effective member representation, taking an active role in the legislative agenda, increase media visibility and publicity as well as realisation of social intercourse, and member engagement.

With one of the outgoing executive’s major goals being to clear the backlog of cases through an enhanced case management system and 100 percent spot checks on all distressed firms, Bere also hoped to make an impact on Zimbabwe’s law-making processes, improve the quality of lawyers standing before courts and those in the advocates’ chambers.

Crucially, the LSZ must be a leading champion of the rule of law, independence of the legal and judiciary sectors as well as effective manager of its programmes, and resources through the judicious application of its business ideals.

“It has made it possible for us to strengthen the profession from its centre starting with its governance structure and process its secretariat… its fiscal processes that ensure efficient and prudent resource utilisation, intensified discipline processes both historical and futuristic… retaining and re-skilling the profession,” the prominent Zimbabwean lawyer said.

While the legal organ was keen on achieving the highest possible standards by having a computerised case management system and other strategies, it has also drawn up an ambitious training programme for the upcoming year under its continuing legal education programme for lawyers, and other related parties.

Meanwhile, the LSZ has also co-opted Precious Chakasikwa of Kantor and Immerman — in line with its gender policy and — as a fourth councillor for Harare.

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