KIGALI - Members of the Kigali Bar Association (KBA) are exploring opportunities and challenges in the legal profession brought about by the East African Community Common Market Protocol..
This was echoed during a two-day seminar jointly organised by the East Africa Law Society (EALS), the premier regional Bar Association and KBA currently taking place in Kigali.
On Friday, David Ochieng, a legal consultant, explained the salient features of the EAC Common Market protocol as well as the legal issues in its operationalisation.
“The seminar is specifically to equip advocates or to enlighten them on the laws and instruments used at the East African Community level.
These are the instruments used at the East African Court of Justice, and even concerns local courts,” Hillary Gumisiriza, the moderator, told The New Times.
“It is to let the advocates have confidence in the East African Community and the East African Court Of Justice so that they can get to the level of understanding problems they face in their chambers, –and know beyond the national jurisdictions, at what point they can go to the EACJ.”
Gumisiriza said the general challenges include the harmonisation process of all the annexes supposed to accompany the treaty and the protocols.
“They have not yet come into place; yet they are the ones that show how these protocols are implemented.
Problems are coming up day-by-day and thus, the process needs to be speeded up,” he noted, adding that EAC citizens also are not yet sensitised enough to know when they can go beyond national jurisdictions to the EACJ.
“We would like to know, in depth, the content of the protocol and how it helps us in our profession; and we hope our recommendations will be taken seriously” said a participant, John Mulisa.
“We were not involved in the adoption of this protocol. What we are here for is getting knowledge about it especially when we are providing services to our clients,” said Mulisa.
Today, the seminar will recap Day One’s discussions and examine cross border legal practice. There will be an overview of the EAC draft bill on cross border legal practice.
Dr. John Eudes Ruhangisa, the EACJ Registrar, is scheduled to take the lawyers through the paces of opportunities and challenges of the EACJ.