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A big tree has fallen in the legal fraternity

A big tree has fallen in the legal fraternity

One of Namibia’s most respected lawyers, Advocate Louis Botes, passed away on Monday 20 May 2024 after serving the law for nearly 39 years.

Working as a state prosecutor, he joined the profession in 1985, followed by pupillage under former Judge Gerhard Maritz, preparing him for a career as an advocate. Eventually, he joined the bar on 11 July 1988 making him the longest serving Namibian advocate at the time of his death.

On his choice not to request silk but to remain junior counsel, the Society of Advocates stated “Louis never applied to be conferred silk status although he clearly deserved it. He made a conscious choice to remain a junior member, our most senior junior because for him it was not about the status. It was more about the practice of the law and being in that privileged position to be able to speak on behalf of others who would not be able to afford the services of senior counsel.”

He was widely known across Namibia for his willingness to defend people in rural areas, where his skill as a defence lawyer served justice when no other lawyer was available of prepared to accept the case.

Known for his wiley tactics during cross examination, his opponents in court usually found out to their own detriment, not to underestimate his easy going demeanour.

Even in civil litigation, the Society of Advocates praised his legendary intelligence, saying that it was at his opponents own peril to go up against this legal giant with his vast knowledge of the law.

“Apart from being an excellent advocate, he was also an exemplary member of the Bar. He mentored three pupils and has been an examiner and moderator for years for the pupilage examinations.”

He served as an acting Judge in 2006 and on the Society’s Council in 2022 and 2023 when he was already struggling with serious health issues.

He was also known for his generosity, always prepared to accommodate clients who could not afford his full fee. In the office, he was known among the general staff as a person with a big heart who could always be approached for a zula.

At his funeral, the current President of the Society of Advocates, Natasha Bassingthwaighte, said to Louis’s family “We thank you for your sacrifice. Your sacrifice was a gain to the profession and to those whom he loved serving. We know you will miss him but hope that you will be comforted by all the memories of the time you spent with him.”

To Ilse, Louis’ wife, “we thank you for what you meant to him. Your companionship and your dedication to make sure he is comfortable and taken care of until the very end, meant a lot to him.”

“A big tree has fallen. The shade he provided will be missed by those he has for so long served to the best of his ability.”


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