This is straight from the heart of one of my Kenyan Readers and followers. An activist and legal philosopher, he shoots from the hips on one of the many challenges of aspirants to the Kenyan Bar. Enjoy!
The introduction of pre-bar examinations last year, the oppressive and stubborn law, was a possible harm to aspiring lawyers, parents, and the legal profession in Kenya. The exams, I think, were to be the unnecessary waste of time and money to safeguard the interests of old lawyers unwilling to welcome the new generation of lawyers. They resorted to finding a conspiracy that will enable them create hurdles and barricades aimed at locking out the potential and subtle advocates from the legal profession. The underlying ill motive and malice in the name of reinventing the collapsing legal profession, they are to blame for the crash, was going to wreck the ambitions and dreams of innocent students, which is morally unacceptable.
Presently, there are ten private and public accredited institutions offering law in Kenya. It is the mandate of Council for Legal Education (herein after referred as CLE) to streamline and oversee numerous curricula, and ensure quality standards are upheld. We tend to assume that the body is vigilant to ensure that the law degrees offered by institutions are top notch. Unfortunately; however, there is discontentment with the graduates of law coming out of the Kenyan institutions. Ahmed Nasir, a senior egoistical counsel, for instance, claimed that the law graduates are ‘’half baked’ to be admitted fully to the legal profession. I agree with his sentiments on one hand because it is true some lawyers are half-prepared by institutions admitting many students to get more income, some draft law briefs poorly and are unable to defend their clients effectively. On the other hand, I contend, even though quality has been compromised in the law course, it was hopelessly illogical to find justice by making poor, and ambitious students pay for mistakes of their institutions.
P.L.O Lumumba, CEO Kenya School of Law announced that he had a plan of cutting down the students admitted to advocates training program from 1600 to 500, and at the same time, introduce pre-bar exams that will see students wishing to join Advocate Training Program ( herein after referred as ATP) sit for before admission. In my opinion, CLE was misusing its power to regulate the law profession, because the introduction of the pre-bar exams was a ploy to prevent the graduates from achieving their dreams. The majority of the institutions offer the same units that Kenya School of Law teach, and an introduction of pre-bar exams turns everything from ridiculous to absurd. In my thinking, the council has failed in its regulation and quality assurance, and the exams are a desperate step to correct their failures, and promote unethical behaviors.
What is more, the regulatory body wants to mint money, the ATP process costs Ksh 190, 000 !, from poor students by enforcing the strategies mentioned. For instance, with the current 1600 students sitting for the bar exams, at most 200 pass, and the rest are offered remarks and resits (a remark costs 15000, and a resit costs 10000).
Fortunately, the phantom was abolished by the courts, as it is evidently clear that it is against the interests of law students who are forced to pass the almost irrelevant and expensive exams before becoming advocates. The law also could bring a groundless discrimination in the legal system, and it was time for the law students to stand up and fight the rampant stupidity that is almost destroying and killing the legal profession in Kenya.
Mathews Were is a Nairobi, Kenya based Legal Philosopher and Activist. He is the Founder of Kenyan Voice of Reason and could be reached on email@example.com
Postscripts: Contributions are welcomed from other readers of the blog on their experience as either lawyers, law students or other members of the society on their experiences with or views about lawyers. Peace.
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