Parliament scraps pre-entry exams at LDC

Members of Parliament have supported a proposal to abolish pre-entry exams at Law Development Centre (LDC).

The move is meant to give chance to many more students to practice law.

This follows a heated debate arising out of a presentation by the  committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who presented recommendation on the ministerial policy statements and budget estimates of ministry of justice and constitution affairs.

The Committee chairperson, Jacob Oboth Oboth told the house that the exams should be removed to have more students join the legal profession.

“We debated this issue and found out that policy is neither serving the purpose nor helping the already graduate lawyers who want to access bar coarse; it is not a guarantee of quality assurance,” Oboth explained to the house.

Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee chairperson, Oboth Jacob, is presenting the Committee’s report on the ministerial policy statement.

He says the issue of the pre-entry exams came up after the space at the LDC was not enough. He says the quality of lawyers is not determined at pre-entry level but  rather at law school.

Dokolo North MP, Paul Amoru noted that many people didn’t do law pre-entry at LDC, but they are abled lawyers, citing the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

He said, “I want to agree entirely with the committee that if we want to address the issue of quality control, it should be done at grass roots, so that the student is not penalised for a mistake that’s not theirs.”

Defence minister Adolf Mwesige noted that there are sufficient checks and balances in the system even before the exams were introduced to enable the legal system produce a good lawyer.

“From A-level- one must first pass very well, and after passing the degree, the curriculum at LDC is structured that you can’t pass by accident, there constant assessments and there are oral exams which all ensure quality of a lawyer,” Mwesige said.

The recent 19th graduation ceremony at LDC

The Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Kahinda Ottafire said that the decision to create pre-entry was to decongest LDC.

He noted that government has now resolved to create regional centres adding that one centre in Mbarara will commence in the next financial year.

Aruu County MP, Odonga Otto rejected the proposal in vain, saying it would undermine the quality of lawyers. He says the country would have terrible lawyers who would make Ugandans pursuing justice to page hugely in terms of cash.

Before, Students still sat pre-entry Examinations in different universities like Uganda Christian University and Makerere University and then later the LDC after completion of the bachelors course in law.