Toward the provision of mandatory pro bono legal services in Kenya
The problems of access to justice in Kenya, and other countries, are numerous and may seem insurmountable. Due to the nature of economic reality, where legal services have a monetary cost to access, there will be persons who are unable to pay the fee for access. A number of countries have undertaken to resolve this problem by instating mandatory pro bono rules for lawyers in their jurisdictions. This research was undertaken to determine how mandatory pro bono rules function in select jurisdictions, see how those jurisdictions compare to Kenya and whether a mandatory pro bono rule would work in Kenya. The project covered several jurisdictions; these are Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, and the USA. Its scope was limited to materials available online or in the Strathmore University library. It mainly involved desktop research and the collection of qualitative information which describes the existing situation in these countries. This information was then analysed and conclusions drawn from it. Specifically, the research found that all three jurisdictions chosen for establishing how mandatory pro bono rules work actually do have mandatory pro bono requirements, which vary in the number of hours required, the persons required to undertake the pro bono work and the persons to whom the pro bono services are to be provided. However, the research also found that the rules barely function in practice, with few lawyers actually undertaking to provide pro bono services and little enforcement of the rule. It is recommended that Kenya institutes a mandatory pro bono rule for lawyers to be implemented and enforced by the Law Society of Kenya, with appropriate tracking and enforcement mechanisms as well as proper sanctions for lawyers who do not undertake to complete their hours. Further research in the area of access to justice in Kenya is also recommended, with specific focus on how to enhance access to justice for the indigent.