Guyana closer to securing local CLE Law School

A few years after a failed attempt by the former APNU+AFC Government to get approval for a law school to be established here, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, last week presented a fresh case to the Council of Legal Education (CLE) of the West Indies.

Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall SC, MP, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs

In a release Sunday, the attorney general said the CLE has considered the request for the home-based law school and had immediately penned a letter to the Government of Guyana, through his office, informing it of the consideration.

In government’s proposal, the law school would be a council’s institution, managed and administered by the CLE.

However, the Government of Guyana will provide the land and buildings as set out in the decision established by the council.

The Council of Legal Education of the West Indies (CLE)

Government was also informed about the criteria and other requirements that must be satisfied for the establishment of Guyana’s first law school.

For nearly three decades Guyana has been trying to establish a law school within its jurisdiction.

In 2017, the then APNU/AFC Attorney General, Basil Williams, SC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and Law College of the Americas (LCA) for the establishment of a law school in Guyana.

This arrangement did not find favour with the CLE and was outrightly rejected since the CLE is the only lawful authority for the administering of legal professional education in the Caribbean region and the MOU was not reflective of CLE’s permission.

An approval for Guyana would make it the fourth institution to be operated by the Council of Legal Education within CARICOM.

The CLE operates three other law schools within the region: the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad – both established in 1973 – and the Eugene Dupuch Law School in the Bahamas which was established in 1998.

The CLE was created by a Treaty Agreement signed in 1971 by Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Guyana.

Guyana’s case was supported by the Hon. Yonette Cummings-Edwards, OR, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) who represented the judiciary and Attorneys-at-Law, Teni Housty and Kamal Ramkarran, both of whom represented the Guyana Bar Association.

This initiative merges into the government’s commitment to promote Guyana as an attractive offshore education destination and fulfil its manifesto promise of training Guyanese at every level. This policy will create a skilled workforce repository that will chart the future direction of the country’s development trajectory.

Guyana’s proposed law school is expected to attract students from across the region and further afield and will ease the overcapacity which currently exists at the Hugh Wooding and Normal Manley Law Schools.