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Court debars lawyer Christopher Chiphwanya

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The High Court has debarred lawyer, Christopher Chiphwanya, for leaving his clients stranded after he closed his legal firm, Denning Chambers, without making necessary arrangements for progress of his clients’ legal services.

High Court judge, Michael Mtambo, made the ruling on Tuesday that described Chiphwanya’s conduct as “the most heinous offence” under the Legal Education and Legal Practioners Act.

The ruling further faulted Chiphwanya for conducting himself against the very existence of the legal profession.

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“One would wonder as to where the affected clients, who are members of the public, would go for redress if they are treated like this by a professional? It is, therefore, the interest of the public that this court is concerned about above all else in this matter. The other interest, of course, is therefore to maintain high standards of the legal profession in the country for the benefit of the public,” reads the ruling.

“In the premises, this court exercises its disciplinary powers under Section 21(1) of the Legal Education and Legal Practioners Act to strike Christopher Chiphwanya off the roll of legal practioners effective today”.

Commenting on the ruling, Judiciary Spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, said that Chiphwanya can no longer practise law in the country.

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“The judge found that the conduct of Christopher Chiphwanya wou ld br ing disrepute to the legal profession hence striking him off the list of practising lawyers. This means he can practise law in the country no more,” Mvula said.

The ruling further ordered all members of the public that are affected by the conduct of Chiphwanya to bring their matters before the President of the Malawi Law Society (MLS) to be properly assisted with advice pertaining to legal assistance in their pending matters.

“This court orders that the President of the Malawi Law Society shall take over all documents that were in the abandoned firm of Denning and Chambers, as are indicated in Section 21 (3) of the Legal Education and Legal Practioners Act, so that the president’s office shall properly assist the litigants that are affected by the unacceptable conduct of Mr. Christopher Chiphwanya,” reads the ruling.

When contacted for comment MLS President John Suzi Banda said his office would be issuing a press statement shortly on the matter which was not yet out as we went to press.

The decision to debar Christopher Chiphwanya came after a member of the public complained to the High Court that Chiphwanya closed his legal firm without making any necessary arrangements for the affairs of his clients.

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