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It’s now more expensive to hire lawyers

KAMPALA. Lawyers’ legal fees have been revised upwards by the Law Council in a bid to reduce lawyer-client fights and also match the high inflation and increased cost of living.
The Law Council is a government body charged with regulating the legal profession and legal aid service provision.

According to the recently launched Advocates (Remuneration and Taxation of Costs), amended Regulations 2018, dated March 2, the minimum a lawyer should be paid for in a parliamentary election petition should not be below Shs10 million.

The same Act that was signed off by the chairperson of the Law Council, Justice Remmy Kasule, recommends that a lawyer should not be paid less than Shs5 million for representing a client in defending an election petition in local government elections.
The old Advocates Remuneration Act was released in 1996.

The framers of the Advocates Remuneration Act, 2018, say a number of reasonable considerations should be thought through before levying the lawyer’s fees.

They include taking into consideration the nature, importance, complexity and novelty of the petition, the place and circumstances in which work or a part of it was done, the time spent and the public interest in the case that the particular lawyers is handling.

“All other circumstances shall be considered but the fees shall not be less than Shs5 million for petitions under the Local Government Act and shall not be less than Shs10 million for petitions under the Parliamentary Elections Act,” the Advocates Remunerations Regulations, 2018 reads in part.

Explaining why there was need to revise the legal fees upwards, the president of Uganda Law Society, Mr Francis Gimara, yesterday said the majority of the complaints against lawyers at the Law Council is about billing fees.

“The old Act was launched in 1996 and it did not include some of the items like election petitions. So it was prudent that we amend it so that we revise the instruction fees upwards to match the rising inflation and also include the new items that had been previously left out,” Mr Gimara explained by telephone.

“Majority of complaints against lawyers at the Law Council concern billing and yet the old Act was not helping either. We hope that with the streamlining of the fees structure in the new Act, it will reduce the lawyer-client fights that we have been experiencing,” he added.

The other notable legal fees include Shs2 million for defending a litigant in a criminal matter, instruction fees to make or oppose a bail application not being less than Shs500,000, and instructions to draw up a Will also not being less than Shs500,000.

Others are legal fees to apply for a grant or probate, proof of an oral Will or letters of administration fees not being less than Shs1 million, instructions to present a petition for dissolution or nullification of a marriage, judicial separation or restitution of conjugal rights where the proceedings are not defended in court, the fees shall not being less than Shs1 million and not less than Shs2 million if the proceedings are defended.

New fees

Parliamentary election petition: Shs10 million.
Local government election: Shs5 million.
Defending a litigant in a criminal matter: Shs2 million.
Instruction fees to make or oppose a bail application: Minimum of Shs500,000.
Instructions to draw up a Will: Minimum of Shs500,000.Applying for a grant or probate, proof of an oral Will or letters of administration fees: Shs1m.

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