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Quality Assurance, Compliance & Licensing

The process of licensing Legal Education Providers in Kenya is guided by the Legal Education Act Cap.16B ; the Legal Education (Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations, 2016 (“Regulations”). According to the Regulations, a Legal Education Provider is any institution or place of learning, however established, whose object is to provide legal education and training. The Regulations apply to any institution that is offering or intends to offer legal education in the Country.

Legal education is defined as any education or training programme offered by an institution whose object is to impart knowledge or skills in the area of law, or such other educational or institutional training that the Council may declare to be legal education and training. This definition is wide enough to cover education, which does not necessarily prepare a person to be the traditional lawyer, but in one way or another, to operate within a field of law. This may include training of paralegals, training on judicial systems etc. All such institutions are required to apply for licensing before mounting any legal education programme in the country.

Application Procedure & Documentation
•    Step 1 - Application: Institutions are required to apply in the format set out in the first schedule of the 2016 Regulations, using Form CLE/L/001.
Required application documents:

Applicants MUST furnish Council the following as part of the application;

a)    A feasibility study of the legal education programme highlighting the justifications for the programme including the programme’s “niche” area
b)    A strategic plan, highlighting specific strategies applicable to ensure sustainability and growth of the legal education programme;
c)    Supporting policy documents such as staff recruitment and development policy, research policy and library policy;
d)    A detailed curriculum of the legal programme and
e)    Any other relevant document for example:
-    Information on student support and services;
-    List of law library print materials, law reports, statutes, journals and e-resources;
-    Information on infrastructure and other physical facilities designated for use in the programme;
-    Information on research and publications data;
-    Academic staff data for the legal education programme;
-    Information on proposed class size and proposed enrolment/ intakes;
-    Information on financial resources to support the proposed legal education programme.

•    Step 2 Preliminary Review: Within thirty (30) days of receipt of the application, Council shall notify the applicant whether the application is or is not compliant:
•    Non-compliant applications: an applicant who has been notified by Council that the application does not comply with the Regulations will be required to amend the application and submit the same within twelve (12) months of being notified by Council; or

•    Compliant applications: where Council notifies the applicant that the application complies with the Regulations, Council within sixty (60) days of notifying the applicant that the application complies with the Regulations shall notify the applicant of the date when Council shall conduct an on-the-site audit and inspection of the facilities of the applicant at the place or places the applicant intends to offer legal education programme.

•    Step 3 – Substantive evaluation: The application together with all the application documents are evaluated as follows:

(i)    Application together with the accompanying documentation are evaluated by the CLE staff using the criteria and standards prescribed in the Legal Education Regulations;
(ii)    The programme Curriculum is subjected to assessment by two external independent reviewers, one whom is at least of the rank of professor in law and another who is an expert in curriculum development but who need not be a legal expert.
(iii)    The report of the independent evaluators is sent to the institution with recommendations of the peer reviewers for the institution to undertake corrective action.

•    Step 4 – Audit: Council schedules an audit of the institution to determine the level of compliance and in order to determine whether the institution is ready for an on-site inspection by the Quality Assurance and Compliance sub-committee of Council. Where Council at the audit determines that an institution is not ready for an on-site inspection, Council through an Audit Report recommends that the Institution undertake specific, measurable and time-tracked corrective actions. The Audit Report is presented to the Quality Assurance and Compliance sub-committee of Council for approval and upon approval, forwarded to the Institution for implementation of the corrective actions.

Upon receipt of the Audit Report, the Institution must implement the recommended corrective actions and report to Council within the stipulated timelines to enable Council assess the Institution’s readiness for Inspection.

Where it is found and recommended in the Audit Report or where Council determines that the Institution has undertaken satisfactory corrective actions as required and that an institution is ready for inspection, an on-the-site inspection of the Institution is scheduled by notice.

•    Step 5 – Inspection: Council conducts an on-the-site inspection of the place where the legal education programme shall be offered by the applicant to determine whether or not the applicant has complied with the provisions of the Act and the Regulations including the standards set out in the Third Schedule of the Regulations. Inspections of legal education providers and programmes are conducted using the following criteria. Institutions are strongly advised to use these criteria as a guide to mainstream quality assurance standards in all aspects of their legal education programmes. An Inspection Report is presented to both the Quality Assurance and Compliance Committee of Council and the full Council for approval and upon approval, forwarded to the Institution for implementation of any prescribed remedial actions.

•    Step 6 – Final Council Determination: The Audit and Inspection Reports approved by the Quality Assurance and Compliance sub-committee of Council made with reference to steps 4 and 5 above, together with recommendations are presented to the Council which makes a final decision on whether the institution’s legal education programme should be accredited.

Where Council is satisfied that an applicant offering a legal education programme should not be accredited-

(i)    That applicant shall suspend the legal education programme immediately;
(ii)    That applicant shall furnish Council with a closure plan within a period of three months; and
(iii)    That applicant shall close the law programme within one year from the date of the inspection.
Where Council determines that an institution should be accredited, a license shall be issued upon such conditions as it shall deem fit for a period of five (5) years.
Post Accreditation Requirements

A licensed institution is required to: -
(a)    Comply with the quality standards set out in the Legal Education (Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations, 2016;
(b)    Comply with such conditions and requirements as may from time to time be prescribed by Council;
(c)    Submit Annual Reports of its activities and progress of compliance with the license.
In order to ensure quality legal education of a licensed institution, Council through the Directorate undertakes routine quality audits of the quality of legal education offered by a legal education provider. Council also may on its own motion or at the request of any person investigate whether or not a legal education provider is complying with the Act, Regulations and license conditions.

Recognition and approval of foreign qualifications means the legal and regulatory framework as well as the process and procedures by which the Council of Legal Education determines whether applications for recognition of foreign qualifications in Law for purposes of admission to the Advocates Training Programme meet the standards prescribed in the Legal Education Act, 2012 (“LEA”) and the Legal Education (Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations, 2016 (the “Regulations”) .
Section 8(1)(e) of the Legal Education Act, 2012 provides the legal foundation upon which Council recognizes and approves foreign qualifications in law. This provision is strengthened by rule 7 of the Regulations which sets out the application procedure for recognition and approval of foreign qualifications. All persons who hold foreign qualifications in law and who are desirous to join the Advocates Training Programme (“ATP”) in Kenya must apply to Council to have their foreign qualifications in law recognized by Council.
ALL APPLICANTS for recognition and approval of foreign qualifications in law and/or applicants seeking clearance to join the Advocates Training Programme must ensure that their applications are complete and submitted to Council timeously.
Council will not receive or process incomplete applications.

The following are the requirements for applications for Recognition and Approval of Foreign Law Qualifications

The applicant must attach:

a)    The complete application form (CLE/EQ/001);
b)    Receipt of payment of application fee (Kshs. 10,000/-);
c)    Certified copy of LL.B. Degree certificate (NB: Letters from the University will not be accepted in lieu of the Degree Certificate);
d)    Certified copy of LL.B. transcripts;
e)    Certified copy of LL.B. Curriculum/syllabus;
f)    Certified copies of ALL High School Certificates and in addition;

(i)    Applicants with KCSE High School Qualifications must also submit evidence of application of KNEC verification e.g. KNEC payment receipt; or

(ii)    Applicants with foreign High School qualifications i.e. High School Qualifications obtained outside Kenya must submit statement of equation by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA).

g)    Letter of recommendation of the applicant from the Institution where the law qualification was obtained;
h)    Evidence of accreditation of the law programme where the law qualification was obtained by the relevant accreditation body in the Country of award; and
i)    Any other relevant document (e.g. Diploma in Law or Certificate in Law/legal studies) where applicable.

The application can be lodged through the Directorate’s Service Portal here or by downloading the application form and submitting the completed form, supporting documentation and payment of fees to

NOTE: Applicants are HEREBY CAUTIONED that under Section 43(1)(a) of the Legal Education Act, No. 27 of 2012, any person who furnishes or causes to be furnished false documents or makes any false statement or representation to Council for any purpose under this Act commits an offence.

Persons with over ten years’ legal experience in the legal sector in a field(s) of law may apply to Council for award of Certificate of Experiential Learning. However, the certificate of experiential learning is not a substitute for academic qualifications. Persons with at least 10 years' experience in the legal sector and in a field of law but who do not have formal academic qualifications in legal education may apply for a Certificate of Experiential Learning.
The Legal Education (Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations, 2016 as read together with Rules 3(1)(c), 4(1)(c) and 10 of the Third Schedule of the said Regulations provides for applications for certificate of experiential learning. The said provisions are extracted below for ease of reference.
Regulation 8 provides for Recognition of experiential learning and provides as follows:
“8. Recognition of experiential learning
(1) A person who has worked in any field of law for a period of not less than ten years may apply to the Council for recognition and award of a certificate of experiential learning:
Provided that—
(a) an applicant who does not hold a certificate in law may be eligible for admission to a diploma in law programme or granted experiential learning equivalent to the status of a diploma in law holder; and
(b) an award of a certificate of experiential learning may be used by the awardee of the certificate to transpose his or her professional orientation.
(2) An application for a certificate in experiential learning shall be made in the form CLE/L/007 set out in the First Schedule to these Regulations.
(3) The Council shall determine an application for experiential learning in accordance with the quality standards set out in the Third Schedule of these Regulations.”
Rule 3(1)(d) of the Third Schedule to the Legal Education Regulations, 2016 prescribes as one of the minimum requirements for admission to the Certificate legal education programme as “a certificate of experiential learning issued by the Council of Legal Education.”
Rule 4(1)(d) of the Third Schedule to the Legal Education Regulations, 2016 prescribes as one of the minimum requirements for admission to the Diploma legal education programme as “a certificate of experiential learning issued by the Council of Legal Education.”
Rule 10 of the Third Schedule to the Legal Education Regulations, 2016 provides that “A legal education provider shall not admit a person to a legal education programme on the basis of experiential learning if that person has not been issued with a certificate of experiential learning by the Council of Legal Education.”
To apply for a Certificate of Experiential Learning applicants must complete the Application form CLE/L/007 , pay the application fee of Ksh. 50,000 and attach the following:
(i)    Certified copy of National ID;
(ii)    Certified copies of academic certificates (high school, undergraduate, postgraduate etc. as applicable);
(iii)    Copies of professional certificates if any;
(iv)    Detailed resume;
(v)    Certificates of service from current and previous employers;
(vi)    Letter of recommendation from current (or most recent) employer;
(vii)    Contact information of at least two referees.

NOTES:
(1)    An application is not complete until the applicant submits all required supporting documentation and payment of the application fees prescribed in the Second Schedule of the Legal Education (Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations, 2016.
(2)    Applicants are HEREBY CAUTIONED that under Section 43(1)(a) of the Legal Education Act, No. 27 of 2012, any person who furnishes or causes to be furnished false documents or makes any false statement or representation to Council for any purpose under this Act commits an offence.

The Advocates Training Programme (ATP) is mandatory for all persons seeking to be admitted to the Bar as Advocates of the High (Supreme) Court in Kenya. This application is for persons who may be required by the Kenya School of Law to obtain clearance from the Council to be enrolled into the ATP.

The applicant must complete the Application form CLE/L/007 and attach the following:

a)    Certified copy of LL.B. Degree Certificate;
b)    Certified copy of LL.B. Transcripts;
c)    Certified copies of ALL High School Qualifications Certificates (i.e. ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels certificates where applicable).

In addition to the above, applicants seeking clearance for purposes of joining the ATP after completing the remedial programme as directed by Council must submit the following:

d)    Certified copy of letter and results transcripts confirming completion of all remedial units; and
e)    Copy of letter from Council communicating Council’s decision to the applicant to attend the remedial programme.

* NOTE: Applicants with foreign academic qualifications e.g. High School, undergraduate Degree or other relevant qualifications obtained outside Kenya must submit a statement of equation by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) of the foreign qualification. In the case of undergraduate degree qualification obtained outside Kenya, the applicant must submit a statement/certificate of recognition by the Commission for University Education in Kenya of the degree awarding institution in addition to the KNQA statement of equation.

Applicants are HEREBY CAUTIONED that under Section 43(1)(a) of the Legal Education Act, No. 27 of 2012, any person who furnishes or causes to be furnished false documents or makes any false statement or representation to Council for any purpose under this Act commits an offence.

Applicants are FURTHER CAUTIONED to desist from acts of impropriety, intimidation and/or harassment of Council staff in connection with any of the above matters.
Note: Currently the Council does not charge a fee for this application.
The application can be lodged through the Directorate’s Service Portal here or by downloading the application form and submitting the completed form, supporting documentation and payment of fees to

This application is for persons who may be required by various legal education providers to obtain clearance from the Council of Legal Education as a condition to admission to their respective programmes.
To apply, applicants must submit a letter of application to the Council (addressed to the Secretary/CEO) indicating that they seek clearance for purposes of admission to a specific legal education programme. The application letter should specify which institution/ education provider requests the clearance and the programme which the applicant is seeking to be admitted into. In addition, the applicant must attach the following documents:
(a)    Certified copy of national ID/ Passport;
(b)    Copy of reference/admission requirements from the legal education provider requesting clearance statement from Council;
(c)    Certified copies of ALL High School Qualifications Certificates (i.e. ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels certificates where applicable).
* NOTE: Applicants with foreign academic qualifications e.g. High School, undergraduate Degree or other relevant qualifications obtained outside Kenya must submit a statement of equation by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) of the foreign qualification. In the case of undergraduate degree qualification obtained outside Kenya, the applicant must submit a statement/certificate of recognition by the Commission for University Education in Kenya of the degree awarding institution in addition to the KNQA statement of equation.
Note: Currently the Council does not charge a fee for this application.
For any further inquiries or assistance touching on any of the foregoing, please contact Council