MASERU — The Law Society of Lesotho has barred 58 lawyers from practising after they failed to pay their annual subscription fees to the legal fraternity’s regulatory body.
Among the blacklisted legal practitioners are prominent lawyers such as Masupha Klaas, Ernest Mahase, Nketsi Makhera, Pitso Ntsene, Santi Mofoka and Thulo Hoeane.
These lawyers, and all the others on the list published by the Law Society on Thursday, cannot practise as lawyers until they have settled their dues with the organisation.
“We have published their names so that the public can notice those who practise illegitimately and those who practise legitimately,” Relebeletse Kanetsi, the Law Society’s acting executive director, told the Sunday Express.
The Law Society is a statutory body with a regulatory role that includes the right to supervise the training, qualifications and conduct of the country’s lawyers.
Once one is admitted as an attorney or advocate, he or she automatically becomes a member of the Law Society.
According to the Legal Practitioners Act of 1983 and the Law Society of Lesotho Act, lawyers should pay annual subscription fees to get practising certificates.
Lawyers should display their practising certificates in their offices after paying their subscription fees.
“Members of the public should always seek practising certificates whenever they approach lawyers for legal services,” Kanetsi said.
Lawyers who do not own law firms are expected to pay an annual subscription fee of M500.
Attorneys and advocates who own law firms should pay an additional M500.
This year lawyers should have paid their subscription fees by April 30.
The list released by the Law Society on Thursday had 58 lawyers who had not honoured their dues.
They each owe amounts ranging from M500 to M2 000.
Kanetsi said the 58 lawyers had been blacklisted after they ignored the Law Society’s “several reminders” to pay their subscription and fidelity fees.
She said the society had warned the lawyers, at least three times, to pay their fees.
The first reminder was dated March 29, with the second being dispatched on June 4.
The last memo, dated August 10, extended the grace period to August 17.
Kanetsi said some of the lawyers whose names appear on the list were contacted by telephone a day before the list was released “but they have ignored our attempts”.
If the 58 lawyers cannot appear in court it means that many cases will have to be postponed.
Their clients will suffer prejudice as well.
The blacklisted lawyers are: Tsotang Monyako, Makhala Moholobela, Kenneth Kulundu, MphokoMajota, Pulungoane Moeti, Khobai Thelingoane, Lebohang Mochaba, Khothatso Mabulu, Matsaseng Ralekoala, Metsing Khoete, Morakane Makhoebe, Keketso Mariti, Masupha Klass, Ernest Khati Mahase, Nketsi Makhera, Tohlang Mohanoe, Khosi Lesuthu, Fumane Tholoana, Pitso Ntsene, Thabo Paul Nteso, Thabo Mpopo, Santi Paul Mofoka, Sesoai Abiel Sesoai, Tebello Makhetha, Ntsoaki Ramphalile, Nonnie Da Silva, Mantsohli Makara, Keketso Maleka, Tsokolo Habasisa, Mapetja, Nchakha Mphalane, Matsau, Thulo Hoeane, Fikile Simelane, AM Lenono, Thabo Tsupane, Monyane Phakoana, Lebakiso Thethe, Tabitha Mahapang, Tsepo Mothibeli, Tekane Maqakachane, ‘Mampoi Toloane, Lisema Lithoko, Rasebonoang, Sechaba Makhabane, TA Matete, Tumelo Mokoena, Mosito Rabotsoa, ‘Nyane Moeti, Bokang Lebona, Itumeleng Khaketla, Ketole Nkoebele, Sello Tsabeha, Makhala Moholobela, Tlali Motsie, Nthabiseng Hlaoli, Paballo Seantlo and Rabahlakoana Ntema.