Lawyers guilty of price fixing?

The move by Kenyan lawyers to raise their fees by as much as 40 per cent brings into sharp focus the country’s competitions law.

While the new fees structure, which took effect mid last month, was seen by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) as aligning the trade to the current cost of living, the Competition Authority sated that it amounted to  price-fixing.

The CA based its argument on the Competition Act, 2010, saying the LSK ought to have sought an exemption otherwise, setting new fees was uncompetitive behaviour.

The LSK argued that it is not regulated by the CA and therefore needs no approval from the markets regulator.

Beyond the tug-of-war, there is a need for clarity on whether the decision by the LSK to roll out the revised fees — which were gazetted by the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on April 11 — is out of touch with the country’s competition regime.

SOURCE: The East African