As Law Development Center (LDC) prepares for a graduation ceremony on Friday, over 240 lawyers are licking their wounds after justice Lydia Mugambe dismissed a petition that could have seen them on the graduation list.
On Tuesday afternoon, Justice Mugambe dismissed a petition by Muhereza Mike Kirungi and Bakesi Jasper Mutalemwa for judicial review seeking an array of orders against LDC saying it lacked merit.
“Based on the above, I am not convinced that this is a proper case for judicial review. The application is without merit and is dismissed,” Mugambe said.
The lady justice slated the petitioners and other lawyers who think that they will find in court an easy route to the graduation list instead of doing battle in exams in order to become Advocates.
“While courts have a duty to all, nothing under the judicial review laws empowers the courts to take over the statutory mandate of LDC, or any other academic institution to determine who has passed or failed,”
Mugambe directed that the petitioners and other students who stood to benefit if the pendulum of justice had swung their way to register and sit exams failed instead of “using courts to intimidate academic institutions.”
When LDC management released the Bar Course results for academic year 2017/18 last in December last year, the petitioners were among the over 500 students that had failed subjects in groups A, B, C and Individual Assessment.
When the duo failed subsequent supplementary exams, commercial and land transactions respectively, LDC management, in sync with the rules for passing the Bar Course which all lawyers accede too, directed that the entire components of the failed subjects be repeated.
These components, according to LDC Director Frank Nigel Othembi, include Individual Assessment, Oral and final exams.
LDC’s interpretation of the impugned rule for passing the Bar Course was that repeating a failed subject in a subsequent year did not mean the year following immediately.
However, the petitioners, following an injunction secured by students in a separate suit were able to sit final exams with students in the academic year 2018/19.
LDC management, however, declined to release their results pending the determination of the petition.
The import of Justice Mugambe’s decision is that the affected students’ only viable course of action is to get admitted next year and hope to graduate in December 2021.
In a telephone interview with New Vision yesterday, Othembi lauded court for its interpretation of the impugned rule for passing the Bar Course.
“The court has been clear. If you have to repeat a subject, you repeat all its components,” Othembi said.
Othembi revealed that LDC management committee will, in light of the court’s decision, sit to offer some guidance to affected students.
LDC management has faced pressure from affected students to release their results.
At some point, following threats to stage a demonstration from Binaisa gardens at LDC to Parliament, Uganda Law Society chipped in, making a case for court to pronounce itself on the matter.