Sosu Vs Legal Council: Lawyers Must Be Allowed To Advertise

A legal practitioner has described as a “little outmoded” the code that prevents lawyers from touting or advertising.

Martin Kpebu believes in the current technological dispensation where social media and websites abound, it will difficult for lawyers not to be part of the craze.

Discussing the controversial four-year ban handed to Lawyer Francis Xavier-Sosu by the General Legal Council, Mr Kpebu told Joy News’ Evans Mensah lawyers must be allowed to advertise.

According to him, advertisement will not in any way make an incompetent lawyer competent.

He was quick to add however that, until the outmoded code in the legal profession is changed lawyers must abide by the rule of no advertisement.

Explaining the rationale for disallowing lawyers to advertise, Kpebu said the legal profession is considered so noble practitioners were not allowed to cheapen it by advertising.

He said a good lawyer was identified by his good works and not by his ability to advertise.

Kpebu noted however, that the 1969 rule borrowed from the English legal jurisprudence must be changed to conform to current trends.

His comments follow a four year ban handed to human rights lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu who was accused of overcharging a client in a pro-bono case.

The client, Francis Agyare, had been jailed for 14 years for a crime he never committed but through the intervention of Sosu, he was released with a 200,000.00 cedis compensation package.

Francis Xavier-Sosu took an amount of 50,000 cedis out of the compensation, a charge, the General Legal Council ruled was excessive given that the case was pro-bono.

He was also deemed to have advertised his services on facebook in contravention of the code of conduct of lawyers.

He was reported to have pleaded guilty and was suspended on his own plea. The lawyer has however, appealed the decision, describing his suspension as high handed.

Martin Kpebu will not discuss the details of the Xavier Sosu case on Joy FM but said charging 25% is allowed in certain cases.

He cited the scale of fees which allowed lawyers to charge clients between 15-25% for debt recovery. He said on land litigation, lawyers are allowed to charge between 10-20% of legal fees.

When he was asked if lawyers were allowed to charge 25% for human rights cases, Mr Kpebu will not answer that.

However checks by Myjoyonline.com indicate that Human Rights Litigation – charges for 2015 is “GH¢6,000- GH¢30,000 or hourly rates would apply if the hourly rates involved exceed GH¢30,000.”

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