Lawyer Monayo to be admitted after winning five-year battle

A tribunal has ordered the Kenya School of Law and the Council of Legal Education to admit a lawyer after a five-year battle. 

The Legal Education Appeals Tribunal noted that the aggrieved lawyer, Victor Monayo, who had filed an appeal against the two, had passed all his bar examinations after remarking and re-sitting units that he had previously failed.

On Thursday, the tribunal held that Monayo was treated unfairly by the two institutions. It faulted them for holding different views after KSL cleared Monayo while the council declined to have his name gazetted.

“We must, as dictated by the constitutional imperatives, stature, and ideals of fairness, censure any litigant who comes before us and rationalises a decision that is arrived at in a manner that offends constitutional and statutory imperatives. The appellant has had to wait for resolution of the issue for years, yet one body has cleared him and the other refuses to accept and own that decision. We reiterate that there is no contest to the first respondent’s (KSL) decision. Only a loud silence,” the tribunal said.

The tribunal further stated that the two bodies which play a big role in the education of law students must harmonise their relationship for the benefit of legal education.

“Publicly taking contrary positions undermines confidence in both institutions and their ability to deliver on their statutory mandate. We deprecate the treatment accorded to the appellant in this matter. The appellant has elaborately laid out his quest to have decision-makers make a decision that is fair, timely and legal,” advised the tribunal.

The tribunal set aside the decision declining to process Monayo’s name for gazettement. “We have said enough to show the impugned decision must be frowned upon. A frown is inadequate in the circumstances. The decision fails every test of constitutional and statutory scrutiny,” read the judgment.

The two bodies were also directed to pay costs to Monayo amounting to Sh50,000. The tribunal, however, failed to grant Monayo’s prayers for a Sh3 million award for general damages and breach of his rights.

Monayo told the tribunal he sat his bar examinations between June and November 2013. The tribunal heard that Monayo also re-sat the remaining two units, and passed. However, when he applied to KSL and CLE for his name to be gazetted for admission to the bar, Monayo argued that CLE issued him with the impugned letter declining to process his name for gazettement.

Monayo argued that despite several demands to CLE, the education body maintained that the student had performed below the pass mark of 50 percent and could therefore not be cleared.