1.The applicant moved this court by way of a Notice of Motion application dated March 28, 2023. It was brought under Section 1A, 1B, 83A of the Civil Procedure Act, Order 9 Rule 9 and Rule 10, Order 45 Rule 1, 2 & 3 and Order 51 Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Rules, and all other enabling provisions of law.
2.The application arises from the taxation of a bill of costs filed by the respondent, following which the applicant filed a reference to the High Court dated the February 7, 2022. A ruling was delivered on February 10, 2023 dismissing the reference.
3.The application before the Court seeks the following orders:
4.The application is supported by the affidavit sworn on March 28, 2023 by Peter Kuria, an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, and Counsel for the applicant as well as the written submissions dated June 13, 2023. The prayers in the application are spent save for the prayer for the firm of Swanya and Company Advocates to come on record and the ground seeking review of this Court’s ruling of February 10, 2023.
5.The gravamen of the application is that the Learned Judge made a grave error in her ruling, by acknowledging that some monies had been paid to the respondent by the applicant and finding that there was evidence on the same but failed to factor this amount into the final computation of the amount payable to the advocate by the client.
6.The applicant also filed a further affidavit dated May 3, 2023 reiterating the jurisdiction of this court to entertain the application for review under section 80 of the Civil Procedure Act and Order 45 Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Rules. The applicant denied that there was delay in bringing the application.
7.The application is opposed through a replying affidavit sworn by Eugene Lubale Lubulellah, a Partner at Lubulellah & Associates, the decree-holder in the matter. The respondent’s case is that this court was rendered functus officio upon the entry of judgment on the Certificate of Taxation on the February 10, 2023. He warns that entertaining this application for review after the entry of judgment on the Certificate of Taxation would be tantamount to this court sitting on an appeal against its own decision as the same has been overtaken by events.
8.The respondent further states that this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain and determine any review application from a decision made under Order 11 (2) of the Advocates Remuneration Order. The application was therefore incompetent and apt for striking out.Counsel submits that the Advocates Act is a self-contained Act which does not make provision for review of the decision of a Judge upon a reference under Paragraph 11 (2) of the Advocates Remuneration Order.
9.In any case, it was stated that the application for review does not meet the threshold as required under the Civil Procedure Act. The respondent avers that the observation of the Learned Judge should be read as a whole because despite having made the observation on the monies, the Court made an explicit and final dismissal of the application.
10.In addition to the pleadings, the application was canvassed by way of written submissions which I have equally considered.
11.Before I move any further, I must first dispense with the prayer for the applicant’s advocate to come on record first. Order 9 Rule 9 of the Civil Procedure Rules, relates to representation of a party after judgment has been passed. It provides that:
12.The provision encapsulates a situation where Counsel may agree by consent to such change or a situation where Counsel may have to apply to Court for leave to come on record. In the latter situation such as appears to be the case here, the Rules further envisage a situation where an advocate while seeking to come on record may still make substantive prayers simultaneously to his application. More particularly, Order 9 Rule 9 provides in this regard that:
13.It has been submitted by the applicants that the former firm on record for the applicants, which was MAO Advocates LLP, was served with the present application. This is evidenced by an affidavit of service dated the May 17, 2023. No response has been presented before the court from the said firm of advocates. Instead, the applicants have brought to the attention of this Court, a taxation suit to wit HCCOMM MISC/E071/2023 Mwiti Abdirizak Odero Advocates (MAO Advocates) V Zadock Funitures Limited, filed by MAO Advocates LLP for services rendered to the applicants in the suit before the court.
14.To this, the respondents argued that the application should be struck out as the ?rm of Swanya Company Advocates were not on record for the applicant having not obtained leave of the court to come on record after entry of judgment on February 10, 2023. The respondent further states that the ?rm of MAO Advocates LLP, which is the ?rm of Advocates on record for the applicant herein has not ceased acting. The respondent takes issue with the unsubstantiated allegation that the firm refused to ?le a review against the reference, as such evidence has not been provided.
15.The respondent further submitted that since the deponent of the supporting affidavit, Peter Kuria was neither a director nor an of?cer of the applicant, he was not competent to depone on matters pertaining to the substantive issues in dispute between the parties. As such, the respondent invites this Court to find that the application remains unsupported with any evidence and ought to be struck out in limine.
17.Having stated this, I do however note that it is not in all cases where affidavits sworn by advocates are automatically defective. In the situation currently before this Court, I note that the affidavit by Counsel contains mainly averments on the history of this matter with inferences from the Court record as well as facts strictly within Counsel’s knowledge as regards the issues giving rise to the application to come on record. These are facts that would be within the deponent’s knowledge and which would be verifiable through evidence attached to the affidavit. I am therefore inclined to find that the application is not defective.
18.I move on to address the second issue regarding the prayer to come on record. I note that the respondent has not proved any prejudice which they stand to suffer if the change of the advocates is allowed. Further, if the firm of MAO Advocates LLP had any objection, they ought to have filed a response to the application. None has been brought to the attention of the Court. The existence of a suit by the said MAO Advocates LLP against the applicant for work done has also not been controverted by the applicant. By this suit it would appear that the interest of the outgoing advocate have been taken care of as enunciated in Simon Barasa Obiero V Jackson Onyango Obiero,  eKLR.
20.For the reasons I have laid out and based on the further support of the decisions I have mentioned, I am convinced that the justice of this case points towards allowing the application for leave to the firm of Swanya & Co Advocates to come on record as advocates for the applicant.
21.The third issue relates to the prayer for review of the reference herein. The respondent argues that this Court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to entertain a review application under paragraph 11 of the Advocates Act. Order 11 (3) of the Advocates (Remuneration) Order states that:
23.This Court is however bound by the finding of the Court of Appeal in Machira & Company Advocate V Arthur K Magugu, (2012) eKLR whereby the Court sought to explain the justification behind leaving out the power of review from the jurisdiction of the High Court in reference proceedings. From the enunciation, it is clear that this move was not coincidental but deliberate and justifiable because:
24.The Learned Judges of the Appellate court further went on to elucidate that:
25.Needless to say, this reasoning applies with equal strength to the circumstances before the Court. I am persuaded that the jurisdiction of this Court under paragraph 11 of the Advocates Act is conferred by statute and is specific as it relates to reference applications and appeals to the Court of Appeal. If the legislature had intended to clothe this Court with powers of review, in addition to appeal, nothing would have been easier than to so state. In light of the authority cited, I am enjoined by the doctrine of precedence and I therefore have no option but to dismiss the application on this ground.
27.Applying the reasoning above to the circumstances before me, I am satisfied that this is not an application that this Court can breathe life to save where the jurisdiction of this court to determine an application was filed under the Civil Procedure Rules when there are clear procedures under the Advocates Act, and is therefore incompetent in limine and suitable for striking out.
Determination and ordersi.In conclusion therefore, the application dated March 28, 2023 is successful to the extent that leave is granted to the firm of Swanya & Co Advocates to come on record as advocates for the applicants herein in place of the firm of MAO Advocates LLP.ii.I find no merit in the application for review and the same is dismissed.iii.The respondents shall therefore be entitled to half of the costs of this application.