Grade C+ a must to study law, court rules

You must attain grade B in either English or Kiswahili and a KCSE mean grade of C (plus) to study law in Kenya, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

The court ruled on Friday in a case in which some law graduates sued the Kenya School of Law for refusing to admit them for a qualifying postgraduate diploma because they did not attain the grades.

The graduates, led by Otene Richard Akomo, sued the school in 2020 after it rejected their applications to be admitted to Advocate Training Program due to their low grades.

The school had invited applications for the programme in late 2019 to which the responded.

It specified that law graduate or undergraduate students admitted in universities after December 8, 2014 must have the KCSE minimum qualifications.

Those admitted to law degree class before the date were to have the degree as the only requirement, the advert said.

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For one to be admitted to the Roll of Advocates in Kenya, they must have a law degree and a postgraduate diploma in law from KSL.

In the High Court, the students contended that the requirement on KCSE scores were alien to law and that the only prerequisite was to have a law degree from a recognized university.

Judge Joseph Mativo agreed with them.

They argued the specifications were discriminatory as they created two classes of students admissible to the programme based on the date indicated.

The judge quashed the regret letters by the school’s executive director and ordered their admission.

But the appellate court in May last year stayed the decision of the High Court, stopping the school from being compelled to admit the student.

The plank of KSL’s appeal argument was that accepting applicants with low KCSE grades would bastardise the quality of advocates it would churn out for the bar.

On Friday, a three-judge appellate bench settled the case, ruling that the requirements by the Kenya School of Law were not discriminatory but lawful.

“The rejection of the respondents who did not meet the [KSCE] requirements was not a violation of their constitutional rights or infringement of any of their rights to education provided under Article 43 (1)(f). The decision by the appellant [KSL] declining each and every individual respondent for admission into the ATP for the 2020-21 academic year was made within the law and is upheld,” the court ruled.

The judgment went on: “For the avoidance of doubt, the basic requirements for KCSE under section 16 and the second schedule of the KSL Act are for both applicants who studied in Kenyan universities. The section should be read as a whole and not in bits and pieces and the three conditions which are precedent must be met before admission to KSL.”

The court said not meeting the set KSCE minimums makes one’s application to the be part of the ATP programme incompetent, hence ripe for rejection.

 

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