Law students sue council of legal education over postponement of ATP examination

Milimani Law Courts

Three law students have moved to court seeking to overturn the decision of the Council of Legal Education to postpone the Advocate Training Program Examination scheduled for 13th to 23r April 2021.

Aron Mango’ka, Daniel Okumu and Moses Maasai want the court to compel the council to announce the dates that it shall administer the examination.

The decision was contained in a general notice no. 8 of 2021 and circulated through an advertisement in the local newspaper on 10th April 202, postponing the examination indefinitely.

Through lawyer Danstan Omari, the three argue that they were aggrieved by the Council’s unilateral decision on account of failure to obtain authority to conduct examination from the relevant agencies charged with management of the covid-19 pandemic.

“A conservatory order be and hereby issued in the form of structural interdict compelling council of legal education to prepare and present to the court the modalities of conducting the ATP examination online in the event that they are unable to conduct the examination physically owing to the failure to obtain approval,” states the petitioners.

According to the petitioners, they and other bar candidates who registered in 2016, 2017, 2018 risk being locked out from the advocates Training program by operation of law under regulation 9(5) of the council of legal education (Kenya School of Law Regulation) 2009 that limits and advocate Training program to five years from the date of registration.

They argue that the decision to postpone the examination for the second time is manifestly unlawful, and unconstitutional causes unnecessary hardship to them in the guise of combating covid-19. 

In addition, the petitioners aver that administration actions by public bodies should ensure certainty in the decisions to avert the off shooting of the settled principle of legal certainty in its decision postponing the examination indefinitely leaves the applicants and the bar candidates scheduled to resit, retake or re attempt the examination with anxiety and mental anguish.

They say that they have legitimate expectation to undertake the examinations next month based on the Council’s General notice 6 and 7 of 2021 which communicated that the council had set in place all mechanism and logistics to administer examinations to the candidates.