Sixty lawyers, among them Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and former Justice minister Martha Karua, have applied to join the exclusive club of Senior Counsel.
Also in the list are veteran John Khaminwa, family law specialist Judy Thongori, former Mombasa mayor Taib Ali Taib, former Director of Public Prosecutions Philip Murgor, law scholar Ben Sihanya, Nairobi Law Society of Kenya (LSK) chairman Charles Kanjama, chairman of Political Parties Dispute Tribunal Kyalo Mbobu, Njoroge Regeru, Wambua Kilonzo and Imaana Laibuta.
Privileges enjoyed by Senior Counsel include occupying front seats in courts, their matters being heard first, being allowed to wear special robes and preferential treatment in dealing with the Judiciary.
The Senior Counsel bar has 31 members currently, with Fred Ojiambo as chairman.
The roll was introduced in 2003, and initially, one ought to have served as chairman of the LSK to qualify.
The rules were, however, changed in October 2008 and lawyers asked to apply to be considered for admission to the prestigious club.
To qualify, a person must have been an advocate of the High Court for more than 15 years or contributed to the development of the legal profession through scholarly writings and presentations.
A committee comprising of the Attorney-General, a Court of Appeal judge, a High Court judge, three Senior Counsel and four advocates vet the applicants. After vetting, the committee recommends the names to the President for conferment.
The names of Senior Counsel are then published in a gazette notice. It has been more than five years since persons were recommended to join the Roll, the equivalent of Queen’s Counsel in the UK.
Among others who applied for the position following an advertisement by the LSK in January last year are former LSK president Eric Mutua, Mohamed Nyaoga, Ambrose Rachier, Surinder Kapila, Fred Ngatia, Kioko Kilikumi, Albert Mumma, the current LSK president, Allen Gichuhi, and Ochieng Oduol.