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Composition of Council of Legal Education questioned

By Augustine Oduor | October 19th 2015 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Questions are being raised over the composition of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) as the accreditation row rages between regulatory agencies and the Commission for University Education (CUE).

It has emerged that CLE is not properly constituted as per the miscellaneous amendments approved by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year.

The amendments to the Legal Education Act, 2012 requires that the CLE chairperson be appointed by the President and not the Attorney General as has always been the case.

A copy of the miscellaneous amendments seen by The Standard deletes the entire Section 4(5)(a) and replaces it with: "The chairperson, who shall be a person with at least 15 years experience in matters relating to legal education and training, appointed by the President."

The new requirements assented to by the President also reduce representation of persons nominated by the Council of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to two.

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LSK previously had four representatives to the council.

The law now expands the membership to the Council to include one slot each for both public and private universities.

Section 4(5)(i) reads: "One person who teaches law in a private university, nominated by private universities."

This means that private universities and public universities should have equal representation in the critical body that regulates legal training in the country.

The new amendments affect the current office bearers as pressure is now piling on the current membership to be reconstituted.

Section 4(5) of the Act lists members of the council to include principal secretaries of Education and Finance, the AG, Chief Justice, representation from LSK and one slot for universities.

A section of MPs have already questioned whether, as presently constituted, the council can make binding decisions.

Parliament Education Committee Chairperson Sabina Chege said the matter shall be looked into in the next meeting scheduled with the council.

"We are aware of that and we shall address it in the next meeting," she said.

House Education Committee Deputy Chairperson Julius Melly said CLE must also obey the law.

"The amendments should have been implemented immediately, why is it taking so long for them to effect the new requirements?" asked Melly.

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