The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has started investigations into mass failure by students sitting bar examinations at the Kenya School of Law (KSL) over the past several years.
LSK Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambua on Sunday revealed that LSK has already constituted a committee to establish the reasons that have seen more than half of candidates fail in the examinations.
“The LSK has set up a committee to look into the mass examination failure of students undertaking the Advocates Training Programme (ATP). This this is in line with the judgement issued last year by Justice John Mativo that ordered for an audit into the large number of lawyers failing the bar examination,” said Ms Wambua.
Justice Mativo ordered that the judgement be served on the LSK for an urgent study to be undertaken to determine what might be behind the worrying trend of the low pass rate at the KSL.
According to Ms Wambua, LSK has established an ad hoc committee comprising of various stakeholders involved in the ATP to investigate the failure alongside other issues raised in the 2017 judgement by Justice Mativo and make necessary recommendations.
The committee chaired by advocate Esther Chege has already started its work and will soon release its findings, according to the LSK boss.
The committee will also cover issues affecting the ATP including the rationale and relevance of the current curriculum and its cost on students. It will also look into the institutional and regulatory structure of ATP including any international best practices and the remuneration and welfare of students and lawyers awaiting admission.
The committee will involve various stakeholders including universities, the Kenya School of Law, Commission for University Education and the Council of Legal Education.
A report by a taskforce released in January laid bare the massive failure of law students seeking to be admitted as advocates of the High Court in the country from 2009 to 2016.
The report by a taskforce chaired by prominent lawyer Fred Ojiambo, indicated that only 7,530 out of 16,086 students who sat the bar examinations passed while 8,549 failed, translating to a failure rate of 53 percent.
Currently, bar examination candidates are permitted to attempt the examination again within five years.