What is the difference between a lawyer and an advocate in Kenya?

difference between a lawyer and an advocate in Kenya
Author: Eunice

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 and responsibilities.

This article aims to clarify the differences between these two professions by elucidating their respective qualifications, rights, and duties. Ultimately, this will help to distinguish between lawyers and advocates in Kenya.

  1. Qualifications
    • 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 at the 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.
  2. Representation in Court:
    • Lawyer: A lawyer cannot represent a client in court in Kenya. They are not authorized to 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.
  3. Legal Advice:
    • 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 representation.
  4. Membership in the Law Society of Kenya (LSK):
    • 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.
  5. Drafting Legal Documents:
    • 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 additional training 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 the specific services they can provide in the Kenyan legal system. Join other lawyers and get featured in our legal directory today.