Tanzania law school rejects 250 Ugandan lawyers

Sunday July 1 2012

By Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa

The Law School of Tanzania, an equivalent of Uganda’s Law Development Centre has rejected 240 Ugandan lawyers who applied to do the bar course from there.

According to Mr Hilary Lubengo, the registrar Law School of Tanzania (LSOT), the institution stayed the students’ admissions because they are constrained by lack of enough facilities .

“Being a new school, we are constrained by facilities and we usually give the first chance to Tanzanians,” he said.

Most of the affected students, according Mr Lubengo, applied in 2010 alongside 400 Tanzanians. LSOT was established in 2007 but before its inception, aspiring lawyers were trained in practical skills through the internship programme run by the Attorney General’s chambers.
He said they also learnt that the students were part of the batch that had failed pre-entry exams at LDC.

Recently, LDC started subjecting all its fresh Bar Course students to pre-entry exams as a measure to weed out sub-standard lawyers following unprecedented failures on the course. Of the 756 students who sat for the first pre-entry exams, only 323 managed to score the minimum 50 per cent pass mark.

Many of the students who failed the pre-entry exams protested the results, claiming that they were “maliciously marked” and urged the centre to have their papers remarked - a request that was not honoured.

Unlike LDC where almost three quarter of the students on the bar course have been failing to pass final exams in the last five years, Mr Lubengo said less than 20 per cent fail the exams.

“Being new in offering the bar course,we have learnt lessons from our counterparts in Uganda and Kenya and we have built on this to minimise failures,” he said

Mr Lubengo made the disclosure this week in Kampala while speaking at a regional conference on challenges of legal training in post-graduate institutions in East Africa.

The conference, which was organised by LDC, drew participants from all East African member states including directors of law schools and lecturers.
All participants identified lack of doing research among law students as one of the biggest challenges dogging the law post-graduate institutions - a component lacking right from university.

“This is a fundamental issue which we need to take seriously as administrators if we are to safeguard our noble profession,” said Mr Frank Othembi ,the director LDC.