As the regional integration process enters an important phase of implementing the common market, the East Africa Law Society (EALS) is set to hold its 14th Annual Conference and General Meeting in Kigali at the end of month to review the EAC Common Market.
The high level meeting is expected to bring together over 600 leading lawyers from within the East African region.
It will be held under the theme; “Advancing the Status of East Africa: Business, Integration and International Justice.’
President Paul Kagame is expected to open the conference while the former British Minister and current chairperson of Africa Matters Ltd, Baroness Linda Chalker will deliver a keynote address.
The conference will also attract international delegates including representatives from the Southern Africa Development Community Lawyers Association (SADC-LA) and their west African counterparts – the West African Bar Association (WABA).
Top on the agenda will be deliberations on regional integration and international justice. The meeting will asses the progress towards an East African Community Common Market and the role of Bar Associations in the region.
The region will also be seeking ways of promoting international and transitional Justice, Doing Business in East Africa and the balance between individual liberties and maintenance of peace and security.
Also expected to be up for debate is human rights and conflict resolution as well as the development of Legal Aid in East Africa.
“The Conference takes place on the sidelines of the decade of celebrations of existence of the EAC. The meeting further takes place for the first time in Rwanda. Rwanda and Burundi are the latest entrants into the EALS and the EAC,” EALS stated in a statement.
The meeting’s uniqueness spans out of the fact that the two countries practice civil law while Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are based on common law. At the moment, the EAC has commenced the process of harmonizing the laws.
Also envisaged at some point in the coming year is an exchange programme between the lawyers in the region. Rwanda and Burundi lawyers are expected to benefit from stints in law firms of the other Partner States
East Africa Law Society (EALS) is the premier regional Bar Association formed in 1995 by a group of lawyers and the leadership of the national Bar Associations in the East African Community (EAC) region.
It is a dual membership organization, bringing together about seven thousand-plus individual lawyer-members from six Bar associations: Burundi Bar Association, Kigali Bar Association, Law Society of Kenya, Tanganyika Law Society, Uganda Law Society, and Zanzibar Law Society.