What is the difference between a lawyer and an advocate in Kenya?
In Kenya, the terms "lawyer" and "advocate" are frequently used interchangeably, causing confusion
among the general
population. However, these designations have distinct meanings and legal roles within the country's
legal framework. It
is essential to differentiate between a lawyer and an advocate, as they have separate qualifications
This article aims to clarify the differences between these two professions by elucidating their
qualifications, rights, and duties. Ultimately, this will help to distinguish between lawyers and
advocates in Kenya.
Representation in Court:
Lawyer: A lawyer is a person who has completed an undergraduate law degree, typically
a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree.
Advocate: An advocate is a lawyer who has completed additional postgraduate training
Kenya School of Law,
including a diploma in the legal field, and has successfully passed nine courses. This
qualifies them for entry into the
legal profession in Kenya.
Lawyer: A lawyer cannot represent a client in court in Kenya. They are not authorized
plead cases or speak on behalf
of clients during legal proceedings.
Advocate: An advocate, whose name is duly entered upon the Roll of Advocates after
completing the Advocates Training
Programme at the Kenya School of Law, is authorized to represent clients in court. They can
plead a client's case and
speak on their behalf during legal proceedings.
Membership in the Law Society of Kenya (LSK):
Lawyer: A lawyer, regardless of whether they are an advocate or not, can offer legal
advice to clients. They can provide
guidance on legal matters and assist clients with legal issues outside of court
Drafting Legal Documents:
Advocate: After completing the Advocates Training Programme and being admitted to the
bar, an individual becomes a
member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK). This membership is typically associated with
advocates rather than lawyers.
Lawyer: A lawyer, including advocates, can draft legal documents on behalf of their
clients. This task is not restricted
to advocates alone.
In summary, while both lawyers and advocates have legal education, the key distinction lies in the
and qualifications required to become an advocate in Kenya. Advocates are authorized to represent
clients in court,
while lawyers (who are not advocates) can offer legal advice and draft legal documents but cannot
represent clients in
court. This differentiation is important in understanding the roles of these legal professionals and
services they can provide in the Kenyan legal system. Join other lawyers and get featured in our
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