Well, such is what almost befell Kaunda Shunen Neema and Mburu Lucy Wangari. These aspiring lawyers enrolled for Law degrees at Inoorero University only to realise, four years later, that the school had not been accredited by the Council of Legal Education to offer a degree course in law.
In a curt rejoinder, Inoorero University clarified the allegations in the local dailies that indeed it offered the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) approved by the Commission of Higher Education which advised that the curriculum had to be approved and accredited by the Council of Legal Education.
It further admitted that “…as the university awaited accreditation, it admitted some LL.B students in the hope that the accreditation process would be complete before they advanced in their programme”.
The accreditation, according to Inoorero University, took longer than anticipated and thus the institution decided to transfer its law students to Mount Kenya University to finalise their degrees. IU reported to have completed the transfer of the said students and necessary credits.
However, according to the Legal Education Act, any institution offering any programme of legal education in Kenya for award of a degree, diploma or a certificate in law is required to apply for a licence from the Council of Legal Education. It is an offence to offer, purport to offer or hold out as offering legal education without a license attracting a penalty of a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.
Following this incident, the Council for Legal Education has since published a general notice on the state of universities and law schools in Kenya vis-à-vis their law programmes.
According to the communiqué, the only fully accredited institutions to offer LLB degrees are Kenyatta University, Strathmore University, Riara University and Kisii University College.
Other institutions provisionally accredited for LL.B programmes are University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Mount Kenya University, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, African Nazarene University and Kabarak University.
Institutions approved to offer Diploma in Law are Kenya School of Law (Paralegal Programme), Inoorero University and Nairobi Institute of Business Studies.
Moi University and Presbyterian University of Eastern Africa had initially been granted provisional accreditation but the accreditations are under review for non-compliance. It is believed that the said universities can offer the law programmes pending completion of the review of the Council of Legal Education.
Kenya School of Law is the only institution that offers post-graduate diploma in law otherwise known as Advocates Training Programme (ATP) which law graduates must undergo before their pupillage and admission to the roll of advocates.
The council further indicated that it has had dealings with institutions in a bid to offer law programmes but the council has not provisionally or fully accredited the said institutions.
These include Bondo University, Chuka College, Elgon View College, Pioneer College, Nairobi Aviation College, Kiriri Women University, Foundation Institute of Africa Limited, MIS Centre, College of Management, KCA University, Leader Institute and Inoorero University.