In a letter to the Judiciary of Zambia acting Chief Registrar Prince Boniface Mwiinga, Hong Kong Bar Association chairman Philip Dykes, State Counsel, expressed concern that the rights of audience have been suspended even before the complaint of professional misconduct has been determined.
“The Hong Kong Bar Association writes to express concern at the circumstances in which Mr. John Sangwa S.C. has, at the direction of the Judiciary of Zambia on 13 March 2020, no longer been allowed to appear before any Court in Zambia. We are troubled that the rights of audience of Mr. Sangwa S.C. have been suspended by the Judiciary notwithstanding that the complaint of professional misconduct (also made by the Judiciary) to the Law Association of Zambia against him had yet to be determined at the time of suspension (and indeed, remains to be determined as of even date),” the letter read.
He stated that the reasons for Sangwa’s suspension raised apprehension regarding due process, fundamental rights and the rule of law, particularly in light of the principles set out in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
“We are further troubled by the suggestion that the suspension may in some way be associated with comments made by Mr. Sangwa S.C. concerning the presidential term limits set out in the Constitution of Zambia and the appointment of Members of the Constitutional Court. These matters raise for us apprehension regarding due process, fundamental rights and the rule of law, particularly in light of the principles set out in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (1990), including Articles 23 and 27-29 therein. As a member of the international community of lawyers, the HKBA supports the adherence to these principles which are crucial to the independence of lawyers in all jurisdictions. The HKBA therefore urges the Judiciary to give serious reconsideration to the notice issued on 13 March 2020 in respect of the suspension of Mr. Sangwa S.C., with the aforesaid principles and imperatives in mind,” stated Dykes in the letter copied to Chief Justice Irene Mambilima, Law Association fo Zambia president Eddie Mwitwa, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Diego Garcia-Sayån and Sangwa.