All private universities offering law degree programmes in the country have been ordered to stop immediately by the Office of the Ombudsman following a complaint filed by law students from privately-owned Blantyre International University (BIU) and Share World University.
Ombudsman Martha Chizuma in her determination made on Friday said the institutions providing law degree programmes are doing it illegally and should only resume after legal impediments are dealt with.
The determination who queried the non-accreditation of their law programmes by the National Council for Higher Education (Nche).
Chizuma dismissed suggestions that Nche was engaging in unfair practices by revoking accreditation of law degree programmes offered by the two institutions.
She said: “The law programme that was being offered by Share World University and BIU was never accredited from the start.
“This is not because the law prohibits the two universities from offering the law programme for study, but rather because the Malawi Council for Legal Education [MCLE], which is legally mandated to provide technical guidance through regulation of syllabus and curriculum before accreditation of the programme, has to date only done so for the law programme at the University of Malawi [Unima] Chancellor College.
“Much as I truly sympathise with the complainants herein and others in similar situation some of whom are actually in my office, any law programme being offered by any other university in the country is being illegally offered and will result to nought. The qualification attained is not a law degree and the so-called graduates cannot be called lawyers.”
Malawi Law Society (MLS) through its honorary secretary Martha Kaukonde has since welcomed the Ombudsman’s determination and asked tertiary institutions seeking to offer law programmes to comply with the dictates of the law.
Ombudsman has given chance to any party with sufficient interest in the matter to seek a review in the High Court of Malawi within 90 days.