Lawyer deregistered after 10 years of service

By Staff Reporter
Harare lawyer Kudzai Mukanhairi has been deregistered after she was found guilty of unethical conduct.
Mukanhairi, who practiced for 10 years, was found guilty of by-passing a colleague, Lindaa Chipato, wresting her client while  besmirching her with lies.
A disciplinary tribunal chaired by High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa found Mukanhairi guilty and ordered her deregistration before slapping her with costs.
Mukanhairi, who was sued by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), desperately tried to defend herself denying acting unprofessionally.
She contended that her conduct did not result in the complainant  getting into conflict with her chosen legal practitioner.
She also argued that her conduct was meant to safeguard the interests of the complainant whom she had known for a year and to whom everyone at the law firm was emotionally attached,  thus she was  motivated  by good intentions.
The former lawyer also denied using intemperate language and claimed that what she wrote in a letter to Chipato’s client was the truth.
She further argued that her former employer was no longer serving the interests of the complainant.
She also summited that the move to deregister her was excessive  and unprecedented.
Without citing any authority, she further contended that there are many such cases like the present where errant legal practitioners have been punished with orders for costs de bonis propiis.
But all her efforts were in futility are the turbinal ruled that it was not for her to paint a colleague as unprofessional to their clients.
“The conduct of the respondent is unprofessional in three respects. Firstly by passing a fellow legal practitioner and surreptitiously communicating with that legal practitioners client offends against the ethics of the profession.”
“In the present case  the respondent was aware that her conduct was unethical and that is why she cautioned the complainant ‘s representative  not to disclose to Chipato. She knew the was a client of Linda Chipato legal practitioners  as she once noted judgement concerning the complainant,” Justice Musakwa in his ruling.
The tribunal also ruled that Mukanhairi  had prepared a court application on behalf  of the complainant and did not make issue of all these factors.
Mukanhairi also did not contest these issues but simply close to claim that she did so out of good intentions shows that she has deficit on probity.
“In bypassing a fellow legal practitioner, the respondent also committed a serious transgression. She out rightly labeled Chipato a liar to her client in contradiction of qualities she is supposed to posses as a lawyer.
Court ruled if she believed Chipato was unethical she was supposed to report the matter to the LSZ.
Ruled Musakwa: “Accordingly, the respondent is found guilty of unprofessional, dishonorable or unworthy conduct. A legal practitioner has a duty to uphold the the law and not to undermine it. the duty entails furthering the interests of the administration of justice to the best of one’s ability. on the contrary, the respondent sought to detract from that fundamental obligation. she did not seem to be aware of this enormous responsibility. this reflects that she is a fit and proper person to continue practicing law. This accords with the attitude with the attitude of the applicant which we take into account. we take view that the respondent’s misconduct id of gross nature that she warrants  deregistration. accordingly it is ordered that the respondent’s name be  deleted from the register of legal practitioners, notaries and conveyancers.”

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