Kenya: court orders law school to admit graduates into lawyer training program
The Mombasa High Court ordered the Kenya School of Law to admit a law graduate into its lawyer training program.
Judge John Mativo also overturned KSL’s 2019 decision not to admit Ms Sabrina Jelani to the program.
All law graduates are required to complete the training before being allowed to practice as a lawyer in Kenya.
KSL had said Ms Jelani did not meet the admission criteria and she took legal action to challenge the decision.
Judge Mativo said the refusal to admit Ms Jelani violated her constitutionally guaranteed right to education.
“The Constitution provides that the Bill of Rights binds all organs of the state, so KSL has an obligation to respect them (Bill of Rights),” he said.
He added that any action that limits or diminishes the right to education violates the Constitution.
The court also noted that a reading of the applicant’s qualifications left no doubt as to her qualification for the training program, in addition to the requirements set out in the regulations.
The judge said the issues raised in this case had been argued before and determined in numerous cases filed against KSL by students seeking admission to the training program.
He said KSL misunderstood the law governing credentials for eligibility for the attorney training program.
The judge also barred KSL from carrying out its decision to refuse to admit the applicant to the training program.
Ms Jelani had accused KSL of abusing her powers in order to infringe her rights and deny her the opportunity to access and complete her studies.
In her application to the High Court of Mombasa, she wanted a declaration that she met the minimum requirements for admission to the training program.
Ms Jelani also wanted an order requiring KSL to admit her for the 2021/2022 academic year or any other academic period.
The petitioner said that KSL had informed her that her application was not successful because she had obtained an average grade of C-plain in the Kenya secondary education certificate instead of the minimum C-plus.
She argued that the decision not to admit her was discriminatory because she had fulfilled the admission requirements set out in section 5 (c) of the first annex to the Rules of the Council for Legal Education (KSL).
The petitioner stated that she obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi in 2019 and prior to that she had completed a degree in Human Resources Management from the same institution.
She explained that the degree meant that she met one of the minimum requirements for admission to an undergraduate program, as stipulated in the Council for Legal Education (Accreditation of Legal Education Institutions) Regulation of 2009. and
Legal Education Council Act.
She said KSL’s actions violated the rule of law and the Constitution for failing to respect and adhere to several court rulings ordering her not to discriminate and admit students in circumstances similar to her own.
KSL did not file a response to the motion or submissions in accordance with the court’s directions and the motion was heard without objection.