- TAONA SIBANDA (2) SILVESTER HASHITI
DAVID OCHIENG & 14 ORS
SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE
ZIYAMBI JA, GARWE JA & PATEL JA
HARARE, JULY 23 & OCTOBER 1, 2013
Appellants in person
P Kachidza, for the first to the twelfth respondents
F Girach, for the thirteenth respondent
D Ochieng, for the fourteenth respondent
M Mahlangu, for the fifteenth respondent
ZIYAMBI JA: In 1981, the legal profession in Zimbabwe was fused. Prior to fusion there were two categories of legal practitioners, namely, attorneys and advocates. The latter could only operate upon receipt of briefs by attorneys. The former, while they freely appeared in magistrates courts, had no right of audience in the superior courts. The advocates were governed by the Bar Association and the Attorneys by the Law Society. Every practising legal practitioner had to be a member, or practise under the auspices of, one of these bodies.
The effect of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 was that all practising lawyers were called legal practitioners. They were all endowed with the right of audience in the superior courts. Former attorneys began to appear in the High and Supreme Courts no longer fettered by the need to brief advocates. The former advocates chose to continue with their previous mode of practice. They remained at Advocates Chambers and communicated to the former attorneys their intention to continue as before. As a result, what is now known as a de facto bar emerged and is still in existence today.