Member of Parliament (MP) for Lobatse, Nehemiah Modubule has tabled a bill in Parliament with the intention of amending the Legal Practitioners Act in order to allow students who graduate with Law degree from local institutions and other countries with same legal system with Botswana to be admitted to practice law here.
Currently, Gaborone Universal College of Law and Ba Isago University College offers diploma in Law programmes while the former is said to be intending to enrol students for bachelor of laws but it is currently barred by a law that only recognises University of Botswana (UB) as the only school offering Bachelor of laws.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Modubule said students who graduate with law degree from other universities not specified in the Act cannot practice law in Botswana. He said by amending the legal practitioners act, local schools will be able to offer law degree programme to their students.
“What I want is that all recognised universities should be allowed to offer bachelor of laws programmes and their students must be able to be admitted in Botswana courts.”
He said local private institutions wants to offer degree programmes but they are barred by the Legal Practitioners Act.
Asked whether he has found out why UB was the only specified local institution, Modubule said, it might be because it was the only highest learning institution in the past.
Modubule said soon he will be consulting the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) for their input. “I know they have made some proposal in the past with the aim of amending many section of the Legal Practitioners Act, and this amendment was one of them,” he said.
Modubule said currently students who graduate with diploma in Law from local private institutions and proceed to study bachelor of laws at UB have to start at first year which is very expensive and taxing.
He said his bill is expected to be debated in the July sitting of Parliament.
┬áCurrently the Legal Practitioners Act allows students who graduated from the following countries to practice law in Botswana; Universities in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Universities in the Republic of Ireland, Universities in the Republic of South Africa, American University, Washington D.C., U.S.A. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, U.S.A, University of Zambia, University of Ghana and Universities in Australia.
All these students have written practical examinations before they can be admitted to practice law.