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Functions of the Council of Legal Education in Kenya. In addressing issues linked to education and training for a competent legal profession in Kenya, both the pre and post-colonial governments have undertaken various initiatives and set up several commissions of inquiry to formulate appropriate policy. These include the establishment of The Kenya School of Law following recommendations by the Denning Committee (1962) to provide vocational legal training. In an attempt to streamline and re-organise the Kenya School of Law in the 1990s the Akiwumi Committee (1995) on the Status and Management of the Kenya School of Law was appointed. In 1998 the Kwach Committee on the Administration of Justice was similarly appointed to look into wider issues pertaining to the administration of justice.
The recommendations of the Akiwumi Report culminated in the re-establishment of the Council of Legal Education under the Council of Legal Education Act, Cap 16A of the Laws of Kenya (now repealed). Although the Council of Legal Education was bestowed with legal personality, the Kenya School of Law was made its operational agent under the Act, thereby making the Council ineffectual. The operations of both the Council of Legal Education and the Kenya School of Law was thus intertwined and confused.
To address the problems and confusion created by the Akiwumi Report, the Muigai-Ministerial Committee on the Development of a Policy and Legal Framework for Legal Education and Training in Kenya (2005) was appointed. The Muigai Committee undertook a comprehensive re-evaluation of legal education and training in Kenya and made recommendations to re-design and re-establish all legal institutions implementing legal policy in Kenya including the Council of Legal Education and the Kenya School of Law. The impetus for these recommendations was to institutionalize international best practice and segregate institutions carrying out regulatory cum supervisory functions from those carrying out training functions. In essence, policy formulation and oversight within the context of legal education was separated from policy consumption at the training level.
The Muigai Report was officially launched by the then Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs, the Hon. Ms. Martha Karua, EGH, MP on 18th January, 2006.
As part of the implementation of the Muigai Report, two Bills were prepared to re-establish the Kenya School of Law and Council of Legal Education as separate legal entities. The bills culminated in the enactment of the Kenya School of Law Act No.26 of 2012 and Legal Education Act No.27 of 2012.
Council of Legal Education became operational in September 2012 but officially separated from the Kenya School of Law in January, 2014 and moved to its new premises in Karen Office Park along Langata Road.
The Legal Education Act establishes the Council of Legal Education. The headquarters of the Council should be in Nairobi. The Legal Education Act also stipulates the functions of the Council of Legal Education in Kenya.
In the exercise of the functions of the Council of Legal Education in Kenya, the Council should comply with the general policy of the Government relating to legal education and training.
The Council should be independent and not be subject to the control of any other person or authority.
The Council should be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and should, in its corporate name, be capable of—
- suing and being sued;
- taking, purchasing or otherwise acquiring, holding, charging or disposing of movable and immovable property;
- borrowing or lending money; and
- doing or performing any other things or acts for the furtherance of the provisions of the Legal Education Act which may be lawfully done or be performed by a body corporate.
Composition Of The Council Of Legal Education
The members of the Council of Legal Education in Kenya are as follows—
- the chairperson, who should be a person with at least fifteen years experience in matters relating to legal education and training, appointed by President.
- the Principal Secretary of the Ministry for the time being responsible for legal education;
- the Principal Secretary of the Ministry for the time being responsible for finance;
- the Attorney-General;
- the Chief Justice;
- two advocates, nominated by the Council of the Law Society of Kenya;
- one person who teaches law in a public university, nominated by public Universities;
- the Secretary to the Council of Legal Education (ex officio member); and
- one person who teaches law in a private university nominated by private universities.
The Principal Secretaries, Attorney General, Chief Justice and the two advocates may attend the Council meetings in person or through their representatives appointed in writing.
The Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters relating to legal education should have regard to gender equity in appointing the members of the Council.
The nominating bodies in public and private universities should nominate for the purposes of appointment, persons (who represent them in the Council as above) who have knowledge and expertise in matters relating to legal education and training, finance, commerce or the management of public institutions.
The chairperson, the representatives for public and private universities and the secretary to the council should hold office for a term of three years and may be eligible for re-appointment for one further term.
Vacation Of Office
The office of a member of the Council, other than an ex officio member, should become vacant if the member—
- resigns from office by notice, in writing, addressed to the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters relating to legal education;
- is absent from three consecutive meetings of the Council without the permission of the chairperson;
- is convicted of an offence by a court and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months or more without the option of a fine;
- is convicted of an offence involving fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude (depraved or wicked behaviour or character);
- is unable, by reason of mental or physical infirmity, to discharge their functions as a member of the Council;
- is otherwise unable or unfit to continue serving as a member of the Council; or
Functions Of The Council Of Legal Education
The functions of the Council of Legal Education in Kenya should be to—
- regulate legal education and training in Kenya offered by legal education providers;
- licence legal education providers;
- supervise legal education providers;
- advise the Government on matters relating to legal education and training.
- recognise and approve qualifications obtained outside Kenya for purposes of admission to the Roll of Advocates.
- administer such professional examinations as may be prescribed under section 13 of the Advocates Act.
Without prejudice to the generality of the functions above, the Council should, with respect to legal education providers, be responsible for setting and enforcing standards relating to the—
- accreditation of legal education providers for the purposes of licensing;
- curricula and mode of instruction;
- mode and quality of examinations;
- harmonization of legal education programmes; and
- monitoring and evaluation of legal education providers and programmes.
In carrying out its functions relating to setting and enforcing standards above, the Council should—
- make regulations regarding requirements for the admission of persons seeking to enrol in legal education programmes;
- establish criteria for the recognition and equation of academic qualifications in legal education;
- formulate a system for recognizing prior learning and experience in law to facilitate progression in legal education from lower levels of learning to higher levels;
- establish a system of equivalencies of legal educational qualifications and credit transfers;
- advise and make recommendations to the Government and any other relevant authority on matters relating to legal education and training that require the consideration of the Government;
- collect, analyse and publish information relating to legal education and training;
- advise the Government on the standardization, recognition and equation of legal education qualifications awarded by foreign institutions;
- carry out regular visits and inspections of legal education providers; and
- perform and exercise any other functions conferred on it by the Legal Education Act.
Powers Of The Council Of Legal Education
The Council should have all the powers necessary on expedient for the performance of its functions under the Legal Education Act and in particular, the Council should have the power to—
- control, supervise and administer its assets in such manner and for such purposes as best promote the purpose for which the Council is established;
- control and administer the Legal Education Fund(opens in a new tab);
- receive any grants, gifts, donations or endowments and make legitimate disbursements therefrom;
- enter into association with other bodies organizations within or outside Kenya as the Council may consider desirable or appropriate and in furtherance of the purpose for which the Council is established;
- open a bank account or bank accounts for the funds of the Council; and
- invest the funds of the Council not currently required for its purpose.
The Council may, within such time as may be specified by the Council, require any person to furnish any returns or information relating to legal education and training that is in the opinion of the Council required to enable the Council to perform its functions or exercise its powers under the Legal Education Act.
For more about the Council of Legal Education in Kenya, see the Legal Education Act(opens in a new tab)