The Council of Legal Education and the Law Society of Kenya through the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary have been ordered by the High Court to admit a lawyer who was barred from practising because of a foreign degree.
Naomi Okello, a Kenyan by birth sued the two councils claiming that they acted unfairly by refusing to admit her as an advocate. She had obtained her law degree from Busiga University and came back to the country for her one-year course at the Kenya School of Law but was rejected, but moved to Rwanda where she was admitted as a Rwandan advocate and a member of the East Africa Law Society.
“I proceeded to enrol with the Institute of Legal Practice and Development in Rwanda and graduated with a post-graduate diploma in legal practice in 2016 and was admitted to the roll of advocates in Rwanda,” she said.
In their defence, the council and the LSK said Busoga University was not an approved university and that they discharged their statutory function under the Legal Education Act, which provides that one of its functions is to recognise and approve qualifications obtained outside Kenya for purposes of admission to the roll of advocates.
According to Justice Weldon Korir subjecting Naomi to the provisions of Section 13(1)(b) of the Advocates Act when she qualifies under Section 13(1)(d) was an unfair administrative action. He added that the lawyer should be admitted for a hearing before Chief Justice David Maraga for admission to the Roll of advocates of the High Court of Kenya.
“A declaration is hereby issued that the conduct and decisions by the Council of Legal Education and the LSK are discriminative and infringe on the petitioner’s rights under Articles 27 and 47 of the Constitution,” Korir said.
The judge also gave an order quashing the decision by the CLE communicated in a letter dated July 27, 2017, and the decisions by the LSK dated March 10, 17, and May 16 2017.