Kenya School of Law, Kenya’s only bar school, will now allow postgraduate law students from across the eastern African region to undergo their legal training there, after a court lifted a government ban which blocked the non-Kenyans from doing so.
According to The PIE News, the High Court said the ban on foreigners wanting to take up the school’s Advocates Training Programme was discriminatory and against Kenya’s Constitution.
The decision was seen as a big win to hundreds of postgraduate law students from the eastern African region, who had railed against the prohibition when it came into effect in January.
“A decision which violates the Constitution [of Kenya, 2010] is null and void, it offends the petitioners’ constitutionally guaranteed rights,” the court said in overturning the decision by the Kenyan government’s Council of Legal Education.
In 2015, the council stopped students from, among others, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana and Rwanda from enrolling in the school, claiming many overstay after graduation by opting to practise law in Kenya. A formal letter on the ban was delivered to the school last October and the school’s CEO Patrick Lumumba subsequently issued an internal memo to announce the decision.
“We have received a letter dated Oct 25 from the Council of Legal Education informing us non-Kenyans are not eligible for admission to the Advocates Training Programme (ATP) at the Kenya School of Law,” the memo said, according to Daily Nation.
“In light of the contents of the letter, non-Kenyans should stand informed the admission committee has not considered their applications.”
The ban, however, led to protests from the region’s legal groups, whose members said it went against the spirit of a liberalised legal system. Their objections sparked court action taken by hundreds of law students and resulted in this latest victory.
With the win, more than 300 foreign students at the law school whose studies were interrupted because of the ban, can now continue their one-year training programme.
The Kenya School of Law, which is the top favourite among law students from more than 10 West African countries, trains over 1,000 students annually. Its ATP is based on the commonwealth legal training model.