The High Court in Nairobi, Kenya has quashed a decision by the Kenya School of Law (KSL) to lock out Ugandan, South Sudanese, Tanzanian, Rwandese and Burundian students from KSL’s Advocates Training Programme (ATP).
One needs to go through the ATP to practice law in Kenya.
Justice John M. Mativo said KSL’s decision violates Article 27 of Kenya’s Constitution, 2010.
“...the decision [by KSL] offends the petitioners constitutionally guaranteed rights...” Justice Mativo ruled on Monday, February 20.
The judgment – assuming Kenya’s Council of Legal Education (CLE) and KSL do not appeal – settles the matter of admitting non–Kenyans, who possess undergraduate Law qualifications, into KSL.
KSL had in November 2016 barred Ugandans and a South Sudanese from the ATP, arguing they that were ineligible.
Some of the students had undertaken their undergraduate law studies in either universities in Kenya or Uganda.
KSL’s decision came on the heels of a directive by CLE.
CLE, drawing from Kenya’s Advocates Act, had opined that for non-Kenyan East Africans to be admitted by KSL for the ATP they must have been admitted as advocates in their respective countries of origin.
Section 12 (a) of the Act says ‘No person shall be admitted as an advocate unless he is a citizen of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and (b) he is duly qualified according to Section 13 of the Act.
Section 13 (1) adds that ‘A person shall be duly qualified if (a) having passed the relevant examinations of any recognised university in Kenya he holds, or has become eligible for the conferment of, a degree in law of that university.’
The judge notes that KSL has in the past been admitting and training East Africans.
Indeed it has.
But in 2016, it started referring some of them to Riara University, a new, private tertiary institution, “for remedial classes” to reportedly meet the threshold prescribed under Part Two of the Second Schedule of Kenya’s Legal Education Act.
Though Ugandans went for the remedial classes, CLE later said non–Kenyans are ineligible for admission to Kenya’s Advocates Training Programne.
At some point last year, KSL, acting on directives from CLE, stopped up to 75 Ugandan students from sitting for bar examinations, prompting the students to petition the Milimani High Court.
The court ruled that they should be allowed to sit for their examinations.
Justice Mativo, however, said on Monday, “A decision which violates the Constitution [of Kenya, 2010] is void.”