Team visits to discuss law school
Stabroek News
March 30, 2003

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Plans for opening the local law school were advanced this week with the visit by a team from the Council of Legal Education (CLE). Based on the discussions the law school could become a net foreign exchange earner if it is able to admit non-Guyanese students.

The CLE chairman Sir Denis Morrison QC led the three-man team that included the Principal of the Hugh Wooding Law School and its Registrar, which arrived and left on Monday.

The team met with the local task force, headed by Attorney General Doodnauth Singh tasked with overseeing the arrangements for setting up the law school. They also met with the Chancellor of the Judiciary, Desiree Bernard.

The Attorney General said the meeting had covered all the issues, including accommodation, staffing and fees among other matters. He said that the Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG) Dr James Rose was now preparing proposals to submit to the CLE.

Stabroek News understands that based on those discussions the CLE task force has identified a building that would house the local law school. The building is situated in North Georgetown and is capable of providing space for classrooms, offices and a Legal Aid Clinic, which is now a curriculum requirement for the regional law schools.

The CLE would require two permanent staff - the principal and a senior tutor - supplemented by part-time tutors. Stabroek News understands that in addition to the two permanent posts the school plans for the availability of ten tutors, half of whom would be available full-time. The task force believes that it could tap the pool of local judges, including those still on the Bench and those who have retired recently here and in the region, as well as experienced practitioners to teach at the law school.

Their expectation is based on the fact that a number of legal practitioners such as retired Chancellor of the Judiciary Aubrey Bishop and Senior Counsel Keith Massiah and Peter Britton, all full professors, and Stephen Fraser of Hughes, Fields and Stoby, have been lecturing to students reading for UG's LLB degree for a number of years.

About the law school's potential as a foreign exchange earner, Stabroek News understands that the local law school plans an annual intake of about 60-65 students.

Sir Denis explored the possibility of places being made available to students from Trinidad and other CARICOM states, given the high cost of the fees at Hugh Wooding and Norman Manley Law Schools as well as the recently opened law school in The Bahamas.

The sources explained that the demand for law school places is high, given the large number of persons who read for law degrees through correspondence courses.

They point out too that while a small number of non-Guyanese have been reading for the LLB degree at UG, the number is likely to rise with the establishment of the law school. Stabroek News understands that for the 2003/4 academic year, 18 non-Guyanese have applied for entry to the UG course. Until now, non-Guyanese LLB graduates have been denied automatic entry to Norman Manley and Hugh Wooding Law School and must write an entrance examination. With the establishment of the local law school and its accreditation by the CLE it is highly likely that UG's LLB degree would be accepted as a regional qualification.

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