Local law school unlikely to open by September
August 2, 2003
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Once open, it will offer professional training for graduates of the University of Guyana law programme who want to practise before the courts of the region. Sources close to the University of Guyana told Stabroek News that the Council for Legal Education, which must sanction the school’s establishment if its graduates are to be recognised regionally, would be considering the detailed proposals for its establishment at its next meeting in September.
A team from the Council visited Guyana earlier this year for discussions on the project with Attorney General Doodnauth Singh SC and University of Guyana officials including Head of the Law Department, Prof Rudy James. James was responsible, at the request of Singh, for drafting the concept paper for the law school, which the Cabinet approved. A task force was set up, headed by the Attorney General, to push the implementation of the proposals that should have seen the school come on stream in September.
A building in Kingston has already been identified to house the law school and work has already began on formulating the curriculum. Plans are being drawn up to offer continuing education courses for practising lawyers.
The establishment of the law school is a consequence of the government’s decision not to meet the economic costs of Guyanese reading for the Legal Education Certificate offered by the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad.
The proposed fees for the local law school will be considerably lower than that of law schools operated by the Council of Legal Education, thus providing access to a larger number of law graduates.
Students studying at Hugh Wooding Law School had to meet the US$10,000 tuition fee last academic year. Before the government opted out of paying the cost of the tuition, as it is required to do under the treaty which established the Council and the Law Schools it runs, Guyanese nationals whether they were resident in Guyana or not were required to pay just US$2000 a year towards their tuition. They were also under no obligation to serve the government and many of the Hugh Wooding graduates went directly into private practice after graduation. This was one of the factors behind the government’s decision to discontinue paying the tuition.