JP Karuaihe Trust Event 2013
and 7th Annual Judge JP Karuaihe Trust Fund Legal Excellence Awards
Held on Friday, 15 November 2013
Moringa Room, Kalahari Sands Hotel
Since the awards are centred around the achievements of legal practititioners and law students it was decided to hold the Legal Excellence Award ceremony on the same date and prior to the commencement of the Annual General Meeting of the LSN to create the opportunity for the members of the LSN to be present when future legal practitioners and their peers are awarded for their achievements.
The Law Society’s involvement with the Judge JP Karuaihe Trust started during 2006 when the trustees of the JPK Trust approached the LSN to assist them in identifying and selecting deserving winners for the ‘legal excellence awards’ thereby acknowledging the dedication, efforts and commitment of legal practitioners who are enhancing and protecting the Rule of Law in Namibia and honouring their social responsibilities.
Best Student Awards 2012:
This year’s winners of the Best Student Awards are:
- Best JTC Student for 2012: Florian Beukes achieved 77% average respectively in all 11 subjects.
- Best LLB Final Year Student for 2012: Alexander Gairiseb achieved 72.37% average.
The winners of the Legal Excellence Awards for Social Responsibility and Human Rights are:
- Legal Excellence Award for Human Rights: Wilmarie Horn. She wrote a book ‘The Challenge of Child Trafficking’.
- Legal Excellence Award for Social Responsibility: The law firm - Ellis Shilengudwa Inc.
Left Top: Awards winners present at the ceremony
Alexander Gairiseb (Best 2012 Final Year LLB student), Wilmarie Horn (Human Rights), Dee Sauls (at the time President of the LSN accepting on behalf of Florian Beukes - Best 2012 JTC Student), Jurie Badenhorst, Anne Shilengudwa and Ivo dos Santos of the law firm – Ellis Shilengudwa Inc (Social Responsibility)
Left Middle: JPK Trustees present at the ceremony
Vicky Ya Toivo, Umbi Karuaihe, Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi, Amanda Hauuanga
Left Bottom: Alexander Gairiseb receiving his Best 2012 Final Year LLB Student award from Amanda Hauuanga and Dee Sauls.
Right Top: Florian Beukes (Best 2012 JTC Student)
Right Middle: Wilmarie Horn receiving her Legal Excellence Award for Human Rights from Vicky Ya Toivo and Dee Sauls
Right Bottom: Anne Shilengudwa receiving the Legal Excellence Award for Social Responsibility on behalf of Ellis Shilengudwa Inc from Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi and Dee Sauls.
Response to the statement in the Namibian newspaper on 23 January 2013
Issued by the President and Council of the Law Society:
On 18 January 2013 the High Court of Namibia handed down an order in case no I 492/2012. The High Court granted the plaintiff the opportunity to present arguments on the matter to the Court. The Court also required the Law Society of Namibia to present arguments to the Court Amicus Curiae (as a friend of the court).
The Namibian Newspaper published an article on 23 January 2013 in which it recorded certain statements - made by the plaintiff in the matter currently before the High Court of Namibia - that were aimed at the High Court and at the Law Society of Namibia.
The Law Society will not comment on the matter that is serving before Court as it is sub judice.
The plaintiff was reported to have subsequently lashed out at the Law Society, accusing it of being “an entity manned by functionaries of apartheid” and of standing “for the interest of a select group”.
Although the Constitution of Namibia grants all persons the right to freedom of speech and expression, it is utterly important to remember that the Constitution only allows this fundamental freedom to be exercised subject to the law of Namibia, in so far as the law imposes reasonable restrictions of the rights and freedoms conferred by the Constitution which are necessary in a democratic society and are required, amongst other things, in the interests of decency and morality and in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
The Law Society is not an organ of apartheid nor does it support the practice or ideology of apartheid. The Law Society of Namibia is a statutory body created by the Parliament of Namibia in 1995 post-independence Namibia. Every legal practitioner in Namibia in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act is a member of the Law Society. Every legal practitioner makes an oath or affirms that he or she will defend and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia as the Supreme Law.
In terms of the Constitution, Namibia is founded upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all. It further states that “the practice and ideology of apartheid from which the majority of the people of Namibia have suffered for so long shall be prohibited and ... may be rendered criminally punishable by the ordinary Courts by means of such punishment as Parliament deems necessary for the purposes of expressing the revulsion of the Namibian people at such practices.”
By virtue of the Legal Practitioners Act, the Law Society regulates the members of the legal profession by, amongst other things, maintaining and enhancing the standards of conduct and integrity of all members of the legal profession. It therefore, amongst other things, represents the interests and presents the views of a specific group of persons, namely legal practitioners. It further seeks the enhancement of the Rule of Law and the promotion of human rights, and shares the revulsion of the Namibian people at the practice and ideology of apartheid. As such, the Law Society of Namibia neither supports nor promotes such practices.
President and Council of the Law Society of Namibia
LSN President's remarks on the opening of the High Court Year
ADDRESS BY ADV DEIDRE SAULS – PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF NAMIBIA ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE HIGH COURT LEGAL YEAR 2013
Wednesday, 16TH JANUARY 2013
The Honourable Judge President
The Honourable Minister of Justice
My Lords and my Ladies
The Honorable Attorney General
The Honorable Ombudsman
The learned Prosecutor General
The Permanent Secretary of Justice
The learned President of the Society of Advocates
The learned President of the Namibia Law Association
Distinguished Legal practitioners and candidate Legal practitioners
The Registrar and staff of the High Court
The Media representatives
Ladies and gentlemen
On behalf of the Council of the Law Society of Namibia, I wish to thank the Honourable Judge President for the opportunity to make a few remarks at this auspicious occasion. I also wish to welcome you all back after a much needed period of rest and wish you all a successful and prosperous 2013.
The High Court Legal Year Opening has become an opportune occasion where the Council of the Law Society can give you an overview of the broader legal profession and the challenges that we face - but equally as important - a glimpse of our hopes, plans and ambitions for the coming year. It also allows us to equally take stock of our shortcomings (both past and present) and our achievements over the past year.
THE DIGNITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY
Before remarking on Law Society matters, I wish to acknowledge the efforts made by the Honourable Judge President in his leadership in addressing the matter of outstanding judgments, and we acknowledge the efforts made by the members of the judiciary in this regard as well. At this juncture I must stress the duty that each and every one of us has to uphold the dignity of the Judiciary and to fiercely protect its independence in the interests of the Rule of Law. I also stress the oath you took upon being admitted as a Legal Practitioner and becoming an Officer of the Court – the oath to “defend and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia as the Supreme Law.” The Constitution establishes the Judiciary as one of the main organs of State. The duty also extends to the members of the Judiciary as is evident from the oath of office taken by the honourable judges of the High Court of Namibia to “defend and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia as the Supreme Law and … fearlessly administer justice to all persons without favour or prejudice and in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Namibia.”
The Constitution in no uncertain terms states that “the Courts shall be independent and subject only to [the] Constitution and the law” and that “No member of the Cabinet or the Legislature or any other person shall interfere with Judges or judicial officers in the exercise of their judicial functions, and all organs of the State shall accord such assistance as the Courts may require to protect their independence, dignity and effectiveness, subject to the terms of [the] Constitution or any other law.”
The Judiciary and the legal fraternity (represented by the Law Society of Namibia) are on the same team when it ultimately comes to the issue of the Rule of Law, and as a team, we should stand united in vigorously discharging our duty. Each and every team member owes it to the other to accord the necessary respect and support in achieving this overarching goal, even when it sometimes means not always agreeing on how to get there.
THE YEAR AND THE TASK AHEAD
The Council of the Law Society will on 25 January 2013, during its planning session discuss and formalise the projects, initiatives and other matters we wish to embark upon or take forward. As a prelude to this, I share the following with you:
The Law Society has come a long way since the implementation of the Legal Practitioners Act in 1995. The profession has grown rapidly over this period and the Law Society needs to cater for the needs and demands of various interest groups within the profession. Having regard to the relatively small size of the Law Society in terms of its Council and the Law Society staff, it is not always possible to cater to or satisfy all the requests and the demands of our members or role players. However, being the governing body of the legal profession we are alive to our capacity constraints and shortcomings in this regard and can only do the best we can with what we have. The scarcity of resources is, needless to say, one of the stark realities that each of us faces in our private and professional lives. But because of the very fact that our resources are scarce, this makes them all the more precious. We at the Law Society continue to strive and work effortlessly to achieving our goals and to improve the services to our members; as well as to work in the public interest for the enhancement of the Rule of Law and to promote the protection of human rights.
I wish to share with you the enormity of the task we are faced with. We have identified two arenas of work this year, namely one focused on the area of Public and
Professional Interest and the other focused on the area of Legal Practice.
THE WORK OF THE COUNCIL AND THE COMMITTEES OF THE LAW SOCIETY
In addition to the Directorate, the Law Society Council is assisted in its work by 16
Committees served by legal practitioners on a voluntary basis. These legal practitioners do not do it because they have to; they do it because they want to serve. They donate and dedicate their time, effort and expertise to serving the profession and as a service to the broader Namibian society without asking anything in return. As the president of the Law Society of Namibia, I warmly commend and truly thank those members of the legal profession for their tremendous efforts.
Committees that deal with matters of Public and Professional Interest include (but to name a few), the Bursary Committee that deals with bursaries awarded by the Law Society to deserving Namibians to study law; the Ethics Committee that deals with the professional standards and conduct of legal practitioner; the Law Reform Committee that provides input and conducts research on the laws of our country that affect each and every one of us; other committees include the Legal Education Committee, the Social Responsibility Committee and the Guidelines Committee
Committees that deal with matters of Legal Practice and are in general tasked with the nuts and bolts of the practice of law from the vantage point of the broader profession include the Civil Litigation committee, the Criminal Litigation committee, the Commercial Law committee, the Labour Law Committee, the Gender, Child & Family Law Committee and the Deeds Registry Committee.
What is extremely important to remember is that the benefit of the work of the Committees of the Law Society of Namibia ultimately flows to the Namibian public at large. The work is mostly unseen and unappreciated because it is not often publicized in the media and the effects thereof are often taken for granted. It should however be noted that due to the work schedules of our legal practitioners and the shortage of professional support staff at the Law Society, one of the major challenges is that the process is time consuming and it is not always possible to respond as quickly as may be desired. There are of course matters that by their very nature receive urgent attention.
The Council will undertake 5 countrywide meetings with it members covering the North, South, West and East of Namibia from March to August 2013. During these meetings issues of and Legal Practice as well as Public and Professional Interest will receive attention. We will focus on training aspects identified in conjunction with the practitioners from the regions. The dates of these meetings are available on the Law Society of Namibia website.
THE LEGAL PRACTICE ARENA & “IMPROVING THE STANDARD OF LEGAL PRACTICE”
In line with one of the focus areas of the Council of the Law Society during the year of my presidency we aim to implement projects and programmes to “Improve the Standard of Legal Practice”. Training and information sessions will - resources permitting - be identified, developed and offered throughout the year to facilitate and ensure the Continuous Professional Development (“CPD”) of legal practitioners. This is a huge task but we are ready for the challenge as it is long overdue. The Law Society deems the CPD of our members important to maintaining an acceptable standard of legal practice.
By taking a look at the statistics of our members, it has proved immensely helpful in identifying some of the interest groups falling under the auspices of the Law Society. From independence to date the body of legal practitioners has grown by around 400% from 107 attorneys and advocates to 578 legal practitioners - as we are all known today.
The following has come to light:
|1||Current Legal Practitioners||
|2||Female Legal Practitioners||
|3||Male Legal Practitioners||
|4||Legal Practitioners In Private Practice||
|5||Legal Practitioners In Government||
|6||Legal Practitioners In The Corporate Environment||
|7||Legal Practitioners At The Legal Assistance Center||
|8||Legal Practitioners With Fidelity Fund Certificates (117 Firms)||
|9||Legal Practitioners In With Fidelity Fund Exemption Certificates||
|10||Previously Racially Disadvantaged Legal Practitioners||
The first training seminar for 2013 is scheduled for Wednesday 30 January 2013 in Windhoek in the field of Criminal Law Practice on the topic of Sentencing. Legal Practitioners, Prosecutors, Magistrates and Judges who have work in the field of criminal law are welcome to attend. The sentencing seminar will be presented by Prof Stefan Terblanche from the University of South Africa and a renowned author on the topic of sentencing. During the week of 11 – 15 February 2013, the Law Society has scheduled the second training seminar for 2013 which will be held across Namibia, namely Windhoek, at the coast, far north and south on the topic of Fee Debiting and
Budgeting and the topic of Fraud Detection and Internal Controls.
THE PUBLIC AND PROFESSIONAL INTEREST ARENA
During the past two years the Council of the Law Society conducted the huge task of reviewing the Legal Practitioners Act in order to critically take stock of whether it has met its intended goals and to address some of the unintended consequences of the Act. This process will be continued under the banner of “Public and Professional Interest” Amongst other things, we would like to see improvements in the regulation of the legal profession and as far as possible avoid over–regulation which could stifle the natural and necessary development and evolution of the profession. We would further like to see improvements the Justice Training system. Risk management, professional integrity and the protection of the public from professional malpractice are some of the aspects that the Law Society takes very seriously and amendments are being considered to improve and introduce measures to ensure these.
The Law Society has been keenly involved with the UNAM Legal Aid Clinic since its inception but more can be done by our members to assist in this initiative. Your services at the clinic will assist in the training of Namibia’s future legal practitioners and a request is made to our more senior members to avail their time in increasing the capacity of the UNAM Legal Aid Clinic.
The Commonwealth Lawyers Association’s Conference will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 14 to 18 April 2013 and we have been requested to bring this to the attention of the members of the legal fraternity in Namibia. We urge legal practitioners to take this opportunity to attend and so doing gain exposure and interact with lawyers from throughout the Commonwealth, as the conference is virtually on our doorstep.
RULES OF THE HIGH COURT AND THE e - JUSTICE INITIATIVE
The Law Society of Namibia has been requested to and has provided input and assistance to the Honourable Judge President with regard to the new Rules of the High Court and with the e-Justice Initiative. We wish to thank the Judge President of the High Court for affording us the opportunity to participate in the process. As previously stated the profession and practice of law will and must necessarily evolve and keep up with the times. With respect to the proposed new Rules of the High Court, we have entreated the honourable Judge President to accord the Council of the Law Society more time to do justice to the exercise of considering the proposed Rules as the Council is yet to meet towards the end of January 2013 to consider the preliminary proposals of the standing committee of the Law Society which, due to the urgency of request, had been submitted to the honourable Judge President. Given the timetable for the urgent finalisation of the proposed Rules, we were encouraged by the invitation of the Judge President to submit any further comments and proposals. The electronic age is upon us. The Law Society recognises the challenges that are inevitable with the introduction of the e-Justice system, including the capacity constraints of the current physical and technological infrastructure to support the successful implementation of the e-Filing initiative. A vast amount of work still needs to be done, however we must be bold enough to make a start in order to advance.
I look forward to 2013 with a positive spirit. If we all co-operate and work together for the attainment of a healthy, well-respected and well-functioning justice system, there is very little that we cannot accomplish.
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