Background / History

Background of the Council of Legal Education

In addressing issues linked to education and training for a competent legal profession in Kenya, both the pre and post-colonial governments have undertaken various initiatives and set up several commissions of inquiry to formulate appropriate policy. These include the establishment of The Kenya School of Law following recommendations by the Denning Committee (1962) to provide vocational legal training.  In an attempt to streamline and re-organise the Kenya School of Law in the 1990s the Akiwumi Committee (1995) on the Status and Management of the Kenya School of Law was appointed. In 1998 the Kwach Committee on the Administration of Justice was similarly appointed to look into wider issues pertaining to the administration of justice.

The recommendations of the Akiwumi Report culminated in the re-establishment of the Council of Legal Education under the Council of Legal Education Act, Cap 16A of the Laws of Kenya (now repealed). Although the Council of Legal Education was bestowed with legal personality, the Kenya School of Law was made its operational agent under the Act, thereby making the Council ineffectual. The operations of both the Council of Legal Education and the Kenya School of Law was thus intertwined and confused.

To address the problems and confusion created by the Akiwumi Report, the Muigai-Ministerial Committee on the Development of a Policy and Legal Framework for Legal Education and Training in Kenya (2005) was appointed.  The Muigai Committee undertook a comprehensive re-evaluation of legal education and training in Kenya and made recommendations to re-design and re-establish all legal institutions implementing legal policy in Kenya including the Council of Legal Education and the Kenya School of Law. The impetus for these recommendations was to institutionalize international best practice and segregate institutions carrying out regulatory cum supervisory functions from those carrying out training functions. In essence, policy formulation and oversight within the context of legal education was separated from policy consumption at the training level.

The Muigai Report was officially launched by the then Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs, the Hon. Ms. Martha Karua, EGH, MP on 18th January, 2006.

As part of the implementation of the Muigai Report, two Bills were prepared to re-establish the Kenya School of Law and Council of Legal Education as separate legal entities.  The bills culminated in the enactment of the Kenya School of Law Act No.26 of 2012 and Legal Education Act No.27 of 2012.

Council of Legal Education became operational in September 2012 but officially separated from the Kenya School of Law in January, 2014 and moved to its new premises in Karen Office Park along Langata Road.