Regional body highlights unfair access to legal education in the Caribbean

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The authors behind a recently commissioned regional study are appealing to CARICOM to amend parts of its treaty which makes it difficult for law students studying outside the University of the West Indies (UWI) to access legal education.
This is one of several recommendations contained in the “Final Report on the Legal Education in CARICOM member states” which was prepared by the IMPACT Justice Project and the Association of Caribbean Students for Equal Access to the Legal Profession, (ACSEAL).
The report highlights the status and relevance of the current legal education system; the extent to which it meets the needs of the students; and concerns of discrimination in access to legal education and by extension, the legal profession.
Regional Project Director for Impact Justice, Professor Velma Newton told OBSERVER media yesterday that current holders of an LLB (Bachelor of Laws degree) from the UWI gain automatic entry into a law programme in any Caribbean country.
This is secured by Article Three of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
However, students earning degrees from other institutions, though of equal standing, must sit an entrance test, but a passing grade does not guarantee
space for admission.
“That system was set up back in the 1970s and has now outlived its purposes. It
was at that time designed to foster a sense of self and to create a body of learning and individuals who were steeped in our traditions and our legal system and so on,”
Newton said.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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