NAIROBI, 27th June 2017, by Department of Public Communications
The Government has increased its legal capacity after it recently employed fifty-four new State Counsel to be based at the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice. The State Counsel were received Tuesday morning by the Attorney General, Professor Githu Muigai at the start of an induction course at the Kenya School of Government, Kabete Campus.
Speaking during the start of the mandatory induction course for the new civil servants, the Attorney General called upon the new lawyers to remain faithful to the call of duty as advocates of the High Court and officers of the Court stressing the need for them to act according to their training and Code of Conduct.
Professor Muigai observed that work at the largest law firm in the East African region remained challenging yet had been the most fulfilling in all his 35 years of legal practice. He called upon the lawyers to endeavour to remain in civil service as this was the only sector they would continually gain an enriching and diverse work experience.
“Your joining the Civil Service I believe is borne of the desire to serve a greater good. However, the challenges experienced in public service coupled with the attractions of the private sector will tempt many of you to seek for better opportunities elsewhere, but I will urge you to remain in the service as you develop your careers. I must admit there is no better place for you to learn than in the government,” the AG emphasized.
“The multiple and complex mandates we share within the largest law firm in the region illustrate the dynamic nature of our Office. Indeed, the experiences you will gain while at State Law are uniquely different from those shared by other advocates in the private sector. This is one thing that you will realise and in as much as you will be attracted and pouched by other private entities, you will appreciate the uniqueness of this Office,” he continued.
The Attorney General however had a word of caution, “State responsibility bestowed on us as State Counsel cannot be quantified by anyone. While we bear the responsibility, we are more often than not crucified in the defence of our call to duty while protecting the law.”
Professor Muigai urged the new State Counsel to familiarise themselves with the Constitution, the Office of the Attorney General Act, as well as other laws and regulations including government circulars and directives that are issued from time to time while reiterating the importance of seeking instructions from various state clients as failure to do so would lead to misadvising the government and disciplinary action.
According to the Attorney General Act 2012, no State Counsel can go to court without the express authority of the Attorney General on constitutional matters or on any matters that touch on the Executive powers, commitment of public funds or enter into consents or issue opinions committing government funds without the express authority of the Attorney General.
Welcoming the new State Counsel into civil service, the Director of the Kenya School of Government, Kabete Campus, Dr. Mohamed Nur has urged them to continually update their skill and knowledge to effectively offer public legal services. He further stressed the importance of order, discipline and protocol as a critical component of civil service.
“You must also keep in mind that you will be addressing the needs of an increasingly enlightened public. This is indeed a good thing as it allows advocates to move away from their legal comfort zones that include complex litigation to adopt a softer approach of mediation where all parties endeavor to build and improve on existing relationships while creating new ones. This means that as State Counsel, you must continuously keep abreast of new developments in legislation, emerging legal issues and developments in Kenyan jurisprudence and remain knowledgeable legal professionals who are able to discharge services of the highest standards. You are the next frontier for the transformation of legal practice and should not shy away from embracing new procedural mechanism using technology such as e-discovery which can increase efficiency and reduce costs involving discovery of documents in litigation,” Dr. Nur advised.
The Kenya School of Government is the premier institution of learning in East and Central Africa mandated with enhancing skill and capacity amongst government officers.
The Public Service Commission received 1,000 applicants when it advertised the vacant positions in March this year; 101 candidates were shortlisted, 54 received their letters of appointment but four candidates failed to take up the Government offer.