Court Of Appeal Sets C+ As Minimum Grade To Study Law

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Chief Justice Martha Koome and Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu with lawyers who had been admitted to the bar PHOTO/Courtesy

The Court of Appeal has ruled that one must attain a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) mean grade of C+ in order to study law in Kenya.

In the ruling which was made on Friday, October 21, the court also clarified that one must attain grade B in either English or Kiswahili to pursue the course.

The court made the ruling in a case where a section of law graduates sued the Kenya School of Law over refusal to admit them for a qualifying postgraduate diploma.

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The students were denied admission to the Advocate Training Program with the institution citing low grades.

While inviting applications for the program in 2019, the school had set KCSE minimum qualifications for law graduate or undergraduate students admitted in universities after December 8, 2014.

The advert indicated that students admitted to law schools in previous dates were to have the degree as the only requirement.

In the High Court, Judge Joseph Mativo agreed with the students that the requirement on KCSE scores were against the law, adding that the only requirement was having a law degree from a recognized university.

In his ruling, Mativo dismissed letters by the school’s executive director and ordered their admission.

However, the Court of Appeal in May 2021 overturned the decision by the High Court arguing that accepting applicants with low KCSE grades would affect the quality of advocates from the school.

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Last Friday, the court ruled that that the requirements by the Kenya School of Law were not discriminatory but lawful.

“The rejection of the respondents who did not meet the [KSCE] requirements was not a violation of their constitutional rights or infringement of any of their rights to education provided under Article 43 (1)(f)

“The decision by the appellant [KSL] declining each and every individual respondent for admission into the ATP for the 2020-21 academic year was made within the law and is upheld,” the court ruled.

The appellate court argued that not meeting the required KCSE grades make’s once application to the program incompetent.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the basic requirements for KCSE under section 16 and the second schedule of the KSL Act are for both applicants who studied in Kenyan universities

“The section should be read as a whole and not in bits and pieces and the three conditions which are precedent must be met before admission to KSL,” the court ruled.

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