Zambia News

48 law students drag ZIALE to court

FOURTY-EIGHT law students have appealed to the High Court against the council of the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) for preventing them from sitting for Legal practitioners’ qualifying examinations in order to clear the courses which they repeatedly failed.

ZIALE has been recording low pass rates at bar examinations in the recent past, prompting members of the public to question the credibility of the institution.
In the last academic year, only one student passed examinations and will be called to the bar this year out of 395 students who sat for the legal practitioners’ qualifying examinations in 2021.

In order to improve the standards in the legal profession, government in May 2021signed Statutory Instrument No. 49 which allows students five attempts to clear their failed courses and when such opportunities are exhausted, a student is banned from re-siting for examinations for a period of five years.

However, according to a notice of appeal dated January 5, 2021, Cheleman Nshitima and 47 others want to challenge the decision of the ZIALE council for blocking them to re-sit for examinations on three grounds.

“Take notice that Cheleman Nshitima and 47 others being disatisfied with the whole decision of the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education given on December 10, 2021 intend to appeal to the High Court,” read the notice.

In their grounds of appeal, the 48 students argued that the council misdirected itself and fell into grave error when it applied Statutory Instrument No. 49 of 2021 retrospectively by excluding them from the legal practitioners’ qualifying examination course.

The students said the council erred in law and fact when it failed to adhere to Rule 37(d) of the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (student) Rules, 2021 a transitional provision by allowing some petitioners in the same circumstances with the appellants to retake their remaining heads (courses).

“The council erred in law and fact when it rejected the appellants from retaking the remaining head(s) without furnishing reasons,” said Nshitima and others.

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