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MPs propose bill to extend Law Society council term

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Staff Reporter

Members of Parliament (MPs) Lekhetho Rakuoane and Mokhothu Makhalanyane have submitted a notice to the National Assembly seeking leave to introduce a private members bill aimed at extending the term of the Law Society of Lesotho Council by three years.

The notice, presented in parliament on Friday, seeks approval for the introduction of the “The Law Society (Amendment) Bill, 2024.” According to the notice, the bill aims to amend Section 9 (2) of the Law Society Act No. 13 of 1983, extending the term of the council to three years.

The notice highlights the importance of providing continuity, stability, and adequate time for the implementation of council resolutions and initiatives.

It indicates that longer terms allow for better planning, execution, and realisation of long-term goals and visions set forth by the Council for the enhancement of the legal profession in Lesotho.

Rakuoane, a lawyer by profession, serves as the leader of the opposition Popular Front for Democracy (PFD). He brings a wealth of legislative experience, having previously held positions such as deputy speaker of the National Assembly and minister of law and justice, among others.

On the other hand, Makhalanyane represents the Mokhethoaneng constituency as a Member of Parliament, affiliated with the ruling Revolution for Prosperity (RFP). Additionally, he currently holds the position of chairperson of committees chairpersons in the National Assembly.

Commenting on the proposed bill, Advocate Lintle Tuke, President of the Law Society of Lesotho, expressed support for the initiative, highlighting the longstanding desire among members of the society for an extended council term.

Tuke underscored the challenges posed by the current one-year term, citing inconveniences and disruptions to the functioning of the law society.

He revealed that previous resolutions on this matter during previous annual general meetings failed to materialise due to governmental hesitancy in tabling a bill to amend the Law Society Act.

He pointed out the detrimental impact of the current system on the consistency of vital institutions like the Council of State, where the president of the Law Society of Lesotho serves.

“As an example, the requirement for the President of the Law Society of Lesotho to serve on the Council of State poses a challenge due to the annual election of a new president. This necessitates the rotation of representatives of the Law Society of Lesotho on the Council of State each year, undermining the continuity and stability of this crucial institution,” he said.

Section 95 of the Lesotho Constitution establishes the Council of State, tasked with assisting the King in the execution of his duties and exercising additional functions as outlined in the Constitution.

Tuke was swift to clarify that the passage of the bill would not mandate an extension of the current council’s term by three years. He emphasized that only the council elected subsequent to the enactment of the amendment would serve a three-year term.

“There will still be an Annual General Meeting (AGM) this year where members of the Law Society of Lesotho will elect a new council. If the amendment were to be enacted at that time, it would apply to the newly elected council, allowing them to serve a three-year term. The current council’s tenure would not be affected,” he affirmed.

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