The faculty of law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College says the proposed Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Bill contain provisions that could result in abuse of power by the Executive.
In its presentation during a meeting with the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, the faculty noted that the granting of control to the Executive over leadership of the Council for Legal Education worsens their fears.
The Legal Affairs Committee is currently receiving submissions on the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Bill after Parliament referred it to the committee.
In its submission, the faculty, represented by dean of law Professor Garton Kamchedzera, questioned the movement of control of the Council for Legal Education from the Judiciary through the Chief Justice to the Executive through the Attorney General.
He also pointed out that the Executive, through the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, would be appointing four out of six members of the council and other committees.
Said Kamchedzera: “We see the shifting of powers to the Executive and we need to seriously think about separation of powers between the Judiciary and the Executive. There is too much power vested in the minister and we wonder why that is happening now.”
In their submission, the Students Law Society were against the requirement that they would have to undergo further training at Malawi Institute of Legal Education (Mile) before being admitted to the bar.
Chancellor College’S Law students representative, Ayuba James, said: “A law is enacted to fix problems observed, but what has been observed at Chanco is that we are trying to fix through Mile?”
The Bill seeks to repeal the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act and include new developments among them removing Chancellor College as the only institution that trains lawyers in the country. n