By Raymond Mayanja
In 2013 Moses Kabanda an advocate threw a party after passing the pre-entry exams for admission at the Law Development Centre for the Bar Course.
“I could not believe it. All my colleagues did not get the pass mark ” he remembers.
Few lawyers like Kabanda are lucky to pass the pre-entry exams.
Two days ago it again came to light that more than 1,000 lawyers failed to get the 50% required pass mark, according to results released by the Law Council.
They showed that only 814 out of 1,812 lawyers who sat the examinations attained the 50% required pass mark.
What’s the problem?
Established in 1970, LDC has the monopoly of teaching the Bar Course which leads to the award of a post-graduate diploma in Legal Practice. Without this diploma one can neither be entered into the Advocates Roll nor practice.
The high number of lawyers failing to make it at LDC is worrying some legal brains in this country.
There is an ongoing debate within the legal fraternity advocating for the breaking-up of LDC’s monopoly over the bar course.
But George Musisi, an advocate said to solve the problem, government should instead establish more centres but keep them under one management – to maintain and assure standards.
“Because of limited space, LDC has to limit the number of students enrolling the Bar Course,” he said. “The institution cannot accommodate all the students. When they fail this year, they are eligible to apply next year, competing with other students from different universities.’
About 12 universities in Uganda are teaching the law course.
“Many of these universities are teaching theoretical subjects, therefore, LDC needs more finances to equip them with practical skills,” Musisi adds.
Director of LDC Frank Othembi told PML Daily that of these 12 universities teaching law, just five are providing thorough teaching.
In this financial year, Shs 247 million was allocated by the government to LDC. The institution is expected to use the money to carry out research on the quality of lawyers produced by all the 12 universities.
LDC also wants Shs 4 billion to employ senior lecturers as well as establishing regional centres in the North, East and Western Uganda.
There is hope
But LDC said this year’s performance is not worrying if you compare to the previous ones. The institution said this year the number of lawyers enrolled for the bar course is much higher.
For instance, Othembi said out of the 401 students who sat for pre-entry exams in the 2016/2017 academic year, only 210 passed