A government-backed Bill before Parliament could end the Kenya School of Law’s (KSL) monopoly as the sole training centre for advocates. It proposes an amendment to the Kenya School of Law Act, 2012, to allow other institutions to train advocates.
It also proposes that the Council for Legal Education (CLE) determine the admission requirements for the advocates’ training programme and administer the pre-bar examination.
In addition, it proposes that CLE accredit the universities that will train advocates.
KSL was established in 1963 as a government agency and admitted 11 students that year. It was a department of the Attorney-General’s Office until July 2001, when it became semi-autonomous.
A report by a task force on legal sector reforms chaired by prominent lawyer Fred Ojiambo released early this year proposed that students who wish to study law undergo assessment before being admitted.
“The aforementioned test shall be administered by universities at their discretion. The Council of Legal Education will undertake a study on the model of pre-university assessment currently undertaken at Makerere University in Uganda, Riara and Strathmore universities in Kenya, and report on the findings of the study to the Attorney-General,” the task force said.
The latest development comes in the wake of mass failure in bar examination and seeks to ensure that only those who qualify pursue the programme.
The report indicated that between 2009 and 2016, only 7,530 of the 16,086 students who sat the bar examinations administered by CLE passed.
The remaining 8,556 failed, translating to a 53 per cent failure.
The task force also cautioned against the Commission for University Education (CUE) taking over the accreditation of law programmes, noting that the Universities (Amendment) Act 2016 effectively curtailed its central role in regulating standards and quality assurance in the education and sectoral professional practice in the country.
The Act allowed CUE to engage professional bodies to inspect universities on its behalf.
Law since 1963 in provision training of advocates is set to end and pave way for universities to also train advocates.