The Council of Legal Education of the West Indies (CLE) is the lawful authority for the administering of legal professional education in the Caribbean Region.
The Council does so through its law schools, the Hugh Wooding Law School, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Norman Manley Law School, Kingston, Jamaica, and Eugene Dupuch Law School, Nassau, Bahamas.
This arrangement is governed by a Treaty which is incorporated by legislation in all member States. Under this arrangement, holders of a recognized Bachelor of Laws degree are admitted to these law schools and upon the satisfactory completion of a course of study, are issued with a Legal Education Certificate (LEC) which qualifies them to practise before the Courts of Law in member States.
For nearly three decades Guyana has been trying to establish a law school within its Jurisdiction. Last week at a meeting of the Council of Legal Education held in Bridgetown, Barbados on September 16 and 17, 2022, the Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, MP, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs presented a case for the establishment of a Council’s law school in Guyana.
In his presentation, the Attorney General informed the Council that unlike a proposal made by his predecessor, Basil Williams, SC, which the Council rejected, the Government of Guyana is proposing that the law school be a Council’s institution to be managed and administered by the CLE but that the Government will provide the land and buildings based upon criteria and specifications set by the Council.
This request was favourably considered, and the Council made a decision to write the Government of Guyana shortly, informing of this decision and setting out the criteria and other requirements which the Government will have to satisfy. The Hon. Yonnette Cummings-Edwards, OR, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag.) representing the Judiciary and Attorneys-at-Law, Mr. Teni Housty and Kamal Ramkarran, representing the Guyana Bar Association, who were also present at the meeting, ably supported the Attorney General in presenting Guyana’s case.
This initiative merges into the Government of Guyana’s commitment to promote Guyana as an attractive offshore education destination.
The proposed Law School is expected to attract students from across the Region and further afield and will ease the overloading which currently obtains, in particular, at Hugh Wooding and Normal Manley Law Schools.