Law students at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College have given a cold shoulder to the proposed Legal Education and legal practitioners’ bill 2017 saying it is a bitter pill to swallow as they would be expected to pay an extra fee for an addition year on top of normal years of their studies.
The bill provides that there is a need to establish the Malawi institute for legal education which will require all the Chanco law students to go for 1 year training after the graduation.
Speaking recently after the meeting with legal affairs committee of Parliament, Chanco law society president Justice Banda said the development will compromise their legitimate expectation of being in class for four years.
“The establishment of Malawi institute for legal education will affect us because it requires us to go to the institute for one year and pay other fees after graduation. It will compromise with our legitimate expectation because instead of four years which we spend after doing another one year of other generic programmes, they will add another year for the institute which will mean studying for six years.
“When we were enrolling, we expected that we will go straight into practice after graduating so it’s unfair to add another one year, it is a sad development for us”, He said
Banda added that lessons expected to be provided at the institute are already being covered on fourth year at Chanco therefore doing that is just a waste of resources and time
“Again, what will be taught at the institute are the things that we learn here in fourth year. Why then subjecting us to another year when our curriculum covers that? Our point is, let the others raise up their standards unlike demanding us to narrow down their standards,” he added
Some notable faces present during the consultation meeting were Dr. George Chaponda, Khumbo Kachali, David Bisnowaty and Lingison Belekanyama and several other members in the legal affairs committee.
There is a legal education and practitioners Act (1965) which was amended in 2010 and regulates legal training and practice in Malawi.
During the previous parliament seating, the government moved a motion to enact a new bill (Legal Education and Legal practitioners Act 2017) which repeals the former.
In the bill there are several provisions which include the establishment of Malawi institute of legal education which requires students trained elsewhere to go for a year before they start practicing and this bill also requires Chancellor College law students to also go to this institute after graduating with an honors degree before they start practicing in Malawi.
Therefore law students at Chancellor College are protesting, among several other shortfalls saying the Minister is given too much power in the bill such as regulation of legal fees and remuneration for lawyers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :