UPND lawyer Martha Mushipe has dragged the Law Association of Zambia to the Ndola High Court saying the association acted beyond its authority by suspending her without a fair hearing because the Constitutional Court, who are the complainants, were not called to be cross examined with regard to the complaint lodged by them.
And Mushipe says LAZ has subjected her to inhuman and degrading treatment by publicizing her suspension before the disciplinary committee or the courts of law had adjudicated on the matter.
In an affidavit verifying facts in support of the notice of exparte application for leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Ndola High Court, September 11, Mushipe stated that on August 11, 2016, the country held elections whose results were controversial.
She added that on August 16, that same year, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his vice-president Geaffrey Bwalya Mwamba began a court process and retained her services, amongst other lawyers, to represent them in the presidential petition.
Mushipe stated that due to circumstances beyond the control of the petitioners’ lawyers, they were on September 2, 2016 forced to recuse themselves, which they did by addressing the court after several applications were dismissed.
She further stated that in the majority and dissenting judgements of the Constitutional Court, all the lawyers were castigated for what the judges termed as ‘unbecoming behaviour’.
Mushipe stated that on November 8, 2016, the Law Association of Zambia issued a notice, requesting her to report before it on November 11 and cited the complainant as LAZ/Judiciary.
She stated that LAZ’s legal practitioners therefore acted as the complainant and the judge at the same time in a complaint purportedly lodged by the Constitutional Court judges, in which they cited her and urged LAZ to take appropriate action against her.
And Mushipe noted that the said court, if aggrieved, had all the powers to discipline her, which they failed, unlike lodging a complaint before LAZ.
“That the said court if aggrieved has all the powers to discipline the applicant which they failed, unlike lodging the complaint before an inferior body which can be supervised by it and further singled out the said applicant as a sacrificial lamb amongst thirteen lawyers appointed to prosecute the petition case, rendering their decision ‘wednesbury unreasonable’,” read the affidavit.
She stated that the LAZ acted contrary to provisions of article 23 of the Constitution by singling her out, thereby discriminating against her.
Mushipe further stated that LAZ acted beyond their legal power or authority by suspending her in its ruling without a fair hearing as the complainants (Constitutional Court judges) were not called to be cross examined with regard to the complaint lodged by them.
She added that LAZ cannot act as the complainants and adjudicators at the same time.
Mushipe further stated that LAZ should stop suspending lawyers without the due process of the law as it was unconstitutional and a clear violation of Article 18(9) of the Constitution.
She observed that LAZ, unlike the Judicial Complaints Commission, subjected suspended members to public ridicule by publicizing the said suspensions before the disciplinary committee or the courts of law had adjudicated on the natter, and as such subjected her to inhuman and degrading treatment.
Mushipe now wants the court to order that the suspension of her practicing license was unconstitutional.
On August 27, LAZ suspended Mushipe’s practicing certificate and referred the matter to the disciplinary committee saying her misconduct was contemptuous and clearly unacceptable from an advocate.