Government actively considering Guyana law school - Luncheon
Stabroek News
August 16, 2002

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The creation of a Guyana Law School is being considered by the government and it may come into being at the start of the 2003/2004 academic year, Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon said.

At his post-Cabinet press briefing held at the Office of the President yesterday afternoon, Luncheon said that a concept paper on the creation of the Guyana Law School was distributed and discussed widely at Cabinet and it was, "at the most initial of reviews, deemed acceptable."

The Sunday Stabroek of August 11 had reported that the question of a local law school was seriously being considered and that the UG law department had been requested to develop a proposal.

Luncheon said that the complete range of educational requirements to make graduates eligible for the bar, being the product of a domestic institution and instruction, was also considered.

Cabinet also examined the plight of the graduates of the year 2001 and 2002 who were not being accommodated by the Council for Legal Education (CLE) quota for Guyana which is 25, he said. Some 15 law graduates were not accepted at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago.

At the upcoming meeting of the CLE, Luncheon said, Attorney General, Doodnauth Singh would endeavour to have the quota for Guyana in the context of the current agreement amended to mean "Guyanese graduates of the University of Guyana Law School as opposed to its current meaning ... anyone born in Guyana." He said that the intention was to reserve all of the 25 slots for Guyanese resident in Guyana and who are graduates of the University of Guyana.

He said that if a local law school were to be established Guyana law graduates would not have to go to the CLE for accommodation in their law schools. They would be accommodated at home, "home grown for want of a better term," he said.

Responding to critics who have said that a local programme would not be feasible, Luncheon said he was not certain about the basis "of the contention of legal minds that say it is not feasible. Those tasked with curriculum delivery at UG have responded favourably to the approach.

"Of course a commitment, such as this, would warrant a commitment of financing and a commitment of political will."

The development of the University of Guyana LLB programme to the point where it is today, compared to where it was in 1992 adequately reflected the outcome of government's commitment, he said.

This last step to provide for the comprehensive legal education in Guyana, he stated, was well within the capabilities of the state and once the financing and issues of curriculum development were resolved the law school could begin operation as early as 2003/2004.

Asked whether any research had been done on how many lawyers Guyana would need over a period of time, Luncheon's reply was "you might be aware that the era of planned economy is slowly dwindling and indeed the choice is being provided to our students to properly reflect their own aptitude, own desires." (Miranda La Rose)