(1) Establishment of the Directorate
The Directorate of Legal Services in the Senate was established in October, 2012 in line with the Organogram approved by of the Parliamentary Service Commission, in preparation for the new bicameral Parliament established by the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
(2) Role of the Directorate
The Directorate is charged with the responsibility of handling all legal matters arising in the Senate. The key functions of the Directorate, in line with the Parliamentary Service Commission’s Strategic Plan 2008-2018 are as follows-
(a) Drafting Committee Bills and Private Members’ Bills;
(b) Advising Committees and Senators on Bills before the Senate;
(c) Drafting proposed amendments to Bills before the Senate;
(d) Serving as Speaker’s Counsel;
(e) Serving as Legal Counsel to Senate Committees;
(f) Providing legal opinions to the Speaker, the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Clerk of the Senate, the Senate Board of Management and Directorates and Departments of the Senate;
(g) Drafting Rulings and Communications from the Chair for the Speaker of the Senate;
(h) Carrying out legal research on assorted legal and procedural matters;
(i) Advising on legal issues that may arise in the course of the proceedings in the Plenary of the Senate;
(j) Preparation of Vellum copies of Bills originating in the Senate prior to transmission to the National Assembly or to the President for assent; and
(k) Performing administrative and such other tasks as may be assigned to the Directorate.
ACTIVITIES OF THE DIRECTORATE
(1) Legislative Services
The Directorate of Legal services has undertaken the following activities with respect to the legislative mandate of the Senate –
(a) drafting of bills;
(b) drafting of subsidiary legislation;
(c) meetings for the peer review of bills;
(d) preparation of Bills Digests of all Bills that have been read a first time in the Senate and uploading of the Bills on the Parliament website; and
(e) preparation of Vellum with respect to Senate Bills that have been passed by–
(i) the Senate for submission to the National Assembly for concurrence; and
(ii) the National Assembly for presidential assent.
(2) Advisory Services
The Directorate has, during the years under review, rendered advisory services to the Speaker of the Senate, the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Clerk of the Senate, Committees of the Senate and Directorates and Departments of the Senate.
Legal advice from the leadership and management offices in the Senate is rendered upon request and is required to be rendered within a period of forty-eight hours of the request. Legal advice to Committees of the Senate is rendered in the course of the sittings of the Committees and as part of their role in the Secretariat serving the Committee.
(3) Delivery of Committee Services
Services carried out with respect to Committees are as follows –
(a) pre-publication scrutiny;
(b) preparation of Bills Digests and presentation of briefs before Committees of the Senate with respect to Senate Bills and Bills passed by the National Assembly and submitted to the Senate for concurrence;
(c) rendering of legal advice to the Committees of the Senate on the Bills submitted for consideration and passage by the Senate;
(d) rendering of legal advice on Petitions and other legal issues arising before the Committees
(e) attending public participation forums and analysis of information emanating from such forum for presentation to the Committees;
(f) preparation of Committee Stage Amendments on the instruction of Committees;
(g) preparation of moving notes with respect to Bills by Committees and Committee Stage Amendments for moving Bills at Second Reading and Committee Stage Amendments before the Committee of the Whole respectively;
(h) preparation of legislative proposals on the instruction of the Committees; and
(i) provision of legal services in mediation committees.
CAPACITY BUILDING, MENTORSHIP AND NETWORKING PROGRAMMES ORGANISED BY THE DIRECTORATE
(1) Annual Conference of Legal Counsel Serving in Legislatures in Kenya
This is an annual event that brings together Legal Counsel serving in Legislatures in Kenya and is spearheaded by the Directorate of Legal Services.
The Conference has been an effective mechanism for exchange of information, experience sharing, capacity building and networking amongst legal counsel serving in county assemblies and between them and legal counsel serving in the Senate.
(2) Africa Colloquium of Legal Counsel to Parliaments
The Africa Colloquium of Legal Counsel to Parliaments was established as a forum through which Legal Counsel serving in Parliaments in Africa would meet, share their experiences and learn from each other with the aim of enhancing their role in the delivery of sound, professional and independent legal advice to their respective Parliaments.
This is a biennial event that was first held in Nairobi, Kenya in 27th and 31st October, 2011. The Directorate takes lead in the preparations for the Colloquium and for this purpose, works with the hosting Parliament in carrying out the necessary preparations and implementing the resolutions arising from the previous Colloquium. A meeting of the Council to the Colloquium is held on an annual basis for the principal purpose of spearheading the preparation of the subsequent Colloquium and the implementation of the resolutions of the Colloquium.
(3) Capacity building for Legal Counsel serving in County Assemblies on Legislative Drafting and Management of a Legal Office
The Directorate undertakes capacity building programmes for legal counsel serving in county assemblies as part of its outreach and capacity building programme. The programmes involve a visit to identified legal offices in the county assemblies and practical training sessions with the legal officers serving in the assemblies. The programme provides a forum for –
1. knowledge and skills transfer on matters relating to legislative drafting, committee services, litigation, compliance and legal advisory services;
2. sharing of experiences on issues relating to provision of legal services in a legislature;
3. brainstorming on possible solution to emerging challenges; and
4. enhancing networks and linkages between the legal counsel in the various regions and the legal counsel in the Senate.
The training areas covered in the programme are informed by the training needs as identified by the legal counsel serving in the county assemblies. The programme mainly consists of interactive and practical sessions and is aimed at equipping the legal counsel with the knowledge and skills that would enable them carry out their day to day functions in the Assembly. Some of the topics that are covered under the programme include –
(a) Legislative drafting within the context of a county assembly
(b) Processing of Bills from the point taking instruction to assent
(c) The role of legal counsel in committees (with respect to Petitions, Bills, regulations and other matters before the Committee)
(d) The role of legal counsel in the conduct of impeachment proceedings, approval proceedings and other forms of inquiry
(f) Drafting of motions, speaker’s rulings and other communications from the chair
(g) Role of legal counsel in the budget cycle
(h) House procedures
(i) Developing a work plan for the Directorate
(j) Role of legal counsel in administrative committees of the County Assembly Service Board including mortgage and car loan committee, staff advisory committee and medical committee
(k) Capacity building opportunities
(l) How legal counsel can support Members of the County Assembly in exercise of their oversight function
(m) Legal advisory and compliance services to the County Assembly Service Board
In accordance with the Pupillage Policy adopted by the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Directorate, in conjunction with the Directorates of Legal Services in the National Assembly and in the Parliamentary Joint Services, implements the Pupillage Programme by hosting at least two pupils (students at the Kenya School of Law undertaking their Pupillage Programme) in each financial year.
(2) Voluntary Service Scheme
The Directorate of Legal Services co-ordinates the Voluntary Service Scheme which allows for the attachment of students from various secondary schools for a two week programme during the months of April, August and December. The principal aim of the programme is to expose the students to the work environment in order for them to learn at an early age as to what would be expected of them in any work-place, to inculcate in them good work ethics and work culture and to mentor the students. It also serves to expose them to Parliament and the workings of the institution.
(3) Hosted Attachments
The Directorate hosts staff and members of County Assemblies as well as staff from various Parliaments in Africa during their attachment to the Senate that have been organized by the Senate. The Directorate has hosted officers from the county assemblies in at least four of the attachment programmes organized by the Senate.
Service in Administrative Committees
Officers of the Directorate are privileged to serve in the following Administrative Committees-
(i) The Senate Board of Management;
(ii) The Disciplinary Committee;
(iii) The Staff Advisory Committee;
(iv) The Senate Training Committee;
(v) The Senate Wellness Committee;
(vi) The Medical Scheme Implementation Committee; and
(vii) Various ad-hoc committees including serving in shortlisting and interviewing panels.