MPs want EAC Bill to harmonise standards for cross-border legal practice

Lawmakers want a new regional Bill regulating cross-border legal practice to also tackle critical issues including providing common standards and rules to regulate cross-border legal practice.

Lawmakers want a new regional Bill regulating cross-border legal practice to also tackle critical issues including providing common standards and rules to regulate cross-border legal practice.

Parliament, last week, wrapped up deliberations on three Bills, including one on East African Community (EAC) cross-border legal practice which had been forwarded by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) for examination by national parliaments.

The Bill was analysed by joint parliamentary standing committees on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, composed of legislators from both the Lower House and the Senate.

Senator Margaret Nyagahura said the Bill did not cater for the harmonisation of legal training and certification.

“Our proposal is that these are made clear and integrated in the Bill,” she said.

The Senator also said there are some important studies “concerning harmonisation of legal training and the regulation of cross border legal practice in EAC” conducted and reports of which ought to be availed to enrich debate in EALA.

“One such report is under scrutiny by the Council of the Ministers of Justice and the process is still on. There are also annexes concerning harmonisation and mutual respect for academic degrees and certificates in the EAC as provided for in the common market protocol,” Nyagahura said.

The Rwanda Parliament considers these documents crucial, she said.

More work

The president of Rwanda Bar Association, Athanase Rutabingwa, on Saturday said what the lawmakers were  doing was good but a lot more needed to be done.

“We are thinking of something called Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA). It is a long process, however, since EAC partner states do not have common academic curricula,” Rutabingwa said.

Rutabingwa said Rwanda now allows advocates from the other partner states to come and practice here on condition that those countries also allow Rwandan lawyers to practice in their jurisdictions.

 

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