LSK queries lack of uniformity in EAC degree curriculum


Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has raised concerns on the lack of uniformity in the qualifications for admission to study law degree and to join the respective bars of the East African Community (EAC) member States.

LSK Nairobi chapter chairman Eric Theuri said there is a need to clarify eligibility requirements on matters such as training for non-Kenyans who practice law in the EAC before seeking admission to practice law in Kenya.

“There ought to be a standardisation of legal training so that a lawyer who trains in Kenya undergoes the same curriculum as a lawyer in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi,” he told the Business Daily.

“Without standardisation, it will be hard to admit those lawyers because the process of them becoming an advocate is not standard with what the Kenyans are going through.”

Mr Theuri’s concern comes at a time Parliament has proposed changes to the Kenya School of Law (Amendment) Bill and the Council for Legal Education (Amendment) Bill If adopted by the House would allow Rwandan and Burundian advocates to practise in Kenya.

The amendments if approved will change Section 12 of the Advocates Act, which currently only allows Ugandan and Tanzanian lawyers to practise in Kenya. Rwandan and Burundian advocates were in 2019 locked out from Kenya, a move that MPs say contravenes the spirit of the EAC.

The proposed changes come barely a month after the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee blocked Rwandan and Burundian lawyers from practising in Kenya until local advocates are allowed to work in the two countries on a reciprocal basis.

Kenyan lawyers, currently practising advocates in Rwanda, had petitioned MPs to fast-track the inclusion of Rwanda and Burundi in the Advocates Act to enable the Chief Justice to swear and enrol practitioners from the two countries to practice in Kenya.

This is the second attempt by MPs to open the doors for lawyers from Rwanda and Burundi, coming nearly two years after the Court of Appeal struck out similar changes, effectively locking out the two countries.

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