Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lawyer urges court to quash new dress code

Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga and Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua takes a group photo with newly sworn in lawyers at the Supreme Court on January 23, 2013. Photo/Emma Nzioka

Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga and Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua takes a group photo with newly sworn in lawyers at the Supreme Court on January 23, 2013. Photo/EMMA NZIOKA  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION REPORTER

A lawyer has challenged the new Law Society of Kenya dress code in court.

Mr Andrew Barney Khakula has told the High Court that the Law Society of Kenya Dress Code (Revised 2013) violates his constitutional rights.

His application was certified as urgent on Tuesday.

The code requires that jackets and blazers worn by male advocates be black, charcoal, grey, navy blue or other dark colours.

The new rule also bars female lawyers from wearing revealing clothes, including sleeveless blouses and dresses.

Mr Khakula wants a restraining order stopping the LSK from enforcing the guidelines pending determination of the suit.

“Many advocates including myself have been adversely affected by the rules,” he says.

The lawyer claims the procedure used by the umbrella organisation for lawyers to come up with the dressing rules was unfair and violated his right to a fair, expeditious, lawful, efficient and reasonable administrative action.

He argues that as an LSK member, he was not given chance to make presentations before the rules were passed.

“The very nature of the rules demands that a procedurally fair process ought to have been followed.” (Opinion: Why LSK must regulate lawyers’ dressing)

Wear ties

He has petitioned the court to declare that the dress code is unconstitutional.

The new rules also requires male advocates to wear ties at all times and prohibits them from removing their jackets in an open court or chambers except with permission of the judge.

Female advocates should not wear sleeveless shirts or dresses, but are allowed to wear scarves of “muted colours” and full trouser suits, as long as the coat is long enough to cover the hips.