Since the inception of the senior counsel status began in 2003, it is the desire of almost all advocates of the High Court of Kenya to acquire the honorary accolade, ‘Senior counsel’. This title is could be an equivalent to royal laurels in Britain. In Kenya, the title senior counsel is bestowed on an advocate by the President of the Republic after being vetted by members of a committee.
For an advocate to qualify as a Senior Counsel he/she must have rendered exemplary service to the legal and public service through the contribution and development of legal profession like scholarly writings and presentations. He/she must have served as an advocate for not less than 15 years and should be of an unquestionable professional conduct and integrity.
Before an advocate is decorated with the status Senior Counsel, he/she should have should have argued precedent-setting case before the superior courts of Kenya or an International court. The advocate is also required to done community service or served in any way at Law Society of Kenya.
If an advocate meets the qualifications of the status Senior Counsel, they can apply to be honored with the title and a committee comprising of the attorney general, Court of Appeal judge, a High Court Judge, 3 Senior Counsel and 4 advocates will vet the candidate and after the vetting process, the committee will recommend names of the advocates to the president for conferment.
The Senior Counsel is not just a title, it is associated with various privileges like wearing special robes similar to the robes of the Court of appeal judges in court, seating in front seats during court sessions, leading legal representations, advising the judiciary and most importantly their cases are dealt with first in court.