Hon Justice Dr Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice, Republic of Kenya graces the Inaugural East African Law Students’ Conference

ealc conference

Participants of the EALSA Conference

On the 14th March 2015 Kenyatta University School of Law hosted the East African Law Students Association (EALSA) conference on “Bridging the Gap between Legal Theory and Practice: Towards the Actualization of the EAC Cross Border Legal Practice”. The chief guest was the Hon. Justice Dr Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya. The Vice-Chancellor, Kenyatta University, Prof. Olive Mugenda welcomed the Chief Justice and other guests.

It conference was organised in partnership with The Kenya Judiciary Training Institute (JTI), Anjarwalla & Khanna Advocates and Kenya’s State Department for East African Affairs. It was attended by over 250 students from laws schools in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The Chief Justice in his keynote address thanked the Kenya Judiciary Training Institute (JTI) for partnering with the students to organize the conference and acknowledged the Judiciary’s commitment to be part of such innovative initiatives by the students. He also thanked EALSA for bringing together all the stakeholders in the legal sector and called out for more of such initiatives in the future. He urged the students to embrace professionalism and ethics at the university and when they join the legal profession.

The morning session was chaired by Hon. Justice Prof. Joel Ngugi, who is the JTI Director and Judge of the High Court of Kenya. The speakers were tasked to respond to the question whether there is indeed a crisis in legal education in East Africa. The session interrogated the efficacy of teaching and learning techniques applied in the study of law in the East African region. The speakers were Ms Wangui Kaniaru, a Senior Associate with Anjarwalla & Khanna Advocates ; Dr. Jacob Gakeri, a quality assurance officer with Kenya’s Council of Legal Education; and Mr Elisha Ongoya, a senior lecturer at Kabarak University School of Law and adjunct lecturer at the Kenya School of Law.

The afternoon session focused on the future of the EAC Cross-Border Legal Practice and was moderated by Ms Caroline Kago who is the Chairperson of the Private Law Department at Kenyatta University. The presenters were tasked to give a presentation on the steps made towards actualizing cross-border legal practice as well as the direction the legal education and practice should take in light of regional integration. The speakers were Ms Christine Agimba who’s Kenya’s Deputy Solicitor General in the Office of the Attorney General & Department of Justice; Ms Rose Nyakwana who is the Principal State Counsel at Kenya’s State Department for EA Affairs and Dr Linda Musumba, a senior lecturer at Kenyatta University School of Law.

The conference ended on a high note with a speech from the Senior Counsel Pheroze Nowrojee. The speech was themed “Standing on the shoulders of giants: Translating Theory into Practice, Lessons from a Veteran”.

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