MKU School of Law celebrates full accreditation

MKU School of Law celebrates full accreditation

The legal arena is not saturated and neither is it narrowing, but lawyers challenged be prepared for a dramatically changing legal landscape.

The Mount Kenya University Parklands Law Campus has been fully accredited by the Council for Legal Education (CLE). The university was accredited on 30 July and celebrated this milestone with a luncheon in mid-August.

The luncheon at a city hotel featured well-known legal minds as speakers. These orators posed all manner of questions to fellow lawyers and universities that train them. 

The gist of their presentations was that opportunities to practice law abound and have not been fully exploited. Are lawyers prepared for a dramatically changing legal landscape? 

Both Prof PLO Lumumba and Fred Ngatia argued that contrary to common perception, the legal arena is not saturated and neither is it narrowing. Instead, new social and economic developments are creating more opportunities for lawyers than in the past.

The two legal scholars pointed out that the human rights field presents numerous opportunities every other day that well-trained lawyers can tap.

Senior Counsel Ngatia stirred guests with his example of a robot named Sofia that Saudi Arabia has made a citizen. This is the first robot, a product of artificial intelligence, to ever be granted citizenship.

Mr Ngatia said the robot behaves like a human being and can express its feelings, including loving or getting angry. 

He then asked guests at the luncheon to imagine the legal minefield surrounding such a creation’s interaction with human beings. Supposing it marries? Supposing it divorces? Supposing it stabs someone or is hurt by a person?

The lawyer then asked whether technology is not creating new opportunities for lawyers. “Have universities trained lawyers who can litigate cases involving this creation of human beings?” Mr Ngatia posed.

Technology, he asserted, was behind the emergence of humanitarian law.

In his keynote address, Prof Lumumba questioned the influence of Eurocentrism on the legal profession in Kenya. While calling for the Africanisation of the legal education, he wondered why law schools should be denied accreditation on the basis that they were not “European enough”.

Prof Lumumba challenged lawyers in Africa to play in every available space: laws that touch on human rights, land, sea and air. “Do local lawyers know that opportunities abound in the blue economy underpinned by maritime laws, for example?” he posed.

TO REACH ITS CURRENT HEIGHTS, THE SCHOOL HAS BENEFITED FROM MKU’S NATIONAL LEAD IN ICT INFRASTRUCTURAL CAPABILITY, AND HAS INTEGRATED ICT INTO ITS LEARNING PROCESSES.

He also asked: “Where are African lawyers when the books used in teaching legal minds are those written by experts from the West? Why are African nations, decades after regaining their independence, still stuck with laws and constitutions that mirror those of the conceptual West?”

Prof Lumumba contends that Africa cannot expect to develop sustainably unless its legal minds fully participate in all development aspects. He asserts that, “legal intervention is at the very heart of development.”

MKU Founder and Chairman Prof Simon N. Gicharu said institutions such as his had the responsibility of training lawyers in their droves and in different specialisations. These are the experts he expects to apply their knowledge innovatively and help drive Africa’s development agenda.

Attainment of the full accreditation, which he says “has not been easy”, provides a platform for MKU to expand its legal training capacity and produce more lawyers.

MKU Parklands Law Campus was finally fully accredited after a series of rigorous audits. 

“This did not come as surprise to us because we have been fully prepared,” Prof Gicharu said. “MKU Parklands Law Campus is not aiming at competing locally, but internationally.”

He recalled that, at one time, MKU bought a building in the Nairobi central business district but this was not good enough to earn CLE’s nod.

“You can imagine investing Ksh650 million in a building only for the Council for Legal education to tell you that the environment is not conducive for the study of law. We had little choice but to shift to our current location, a standalone campus” said Prof Gicharu. 

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Hon Moses Cheboi, one of the speakers at the function, said the full accreditation had unlocked new doors for MKU law students. He explained that now that the institution is fully accredited by CLE, students can apply for pupillage at the National Assembly.

The MKU Law Campus is located in Parklands, Nairobi. Beyond fulfilling the legitimate demand of the CLE Accreditation Board, the new premises was acquired by MKU in response to the remarkable steady growth of the School of Law and the need on the part of the university to expand and improve the facilities and resources attached to and connected with the law school.

The new premises are situated in a strategic, tranquil, serene environment characterised by great ambience for study, research and extra-curricular activities, yet at a stone’s throw from the Central Business District – less than two kilometres away. 

A brief history, present status and plans

The School of Law opened its doors to the first batch of 29 undergraduate entrants in September 2009, guided by a small faculty of five. Today, the student population has grown to slightly over 1,000. 

These learners are supported by a capable faculty of about 30 lecturers, aided by a strong cadre of qualified non-teaching staff dedicated to making Mount Kenya University School of Law the model of legal education in the region. 

In a bid to realise this vision, the School has put in place 10-year strategic plan backed up by a realistic mission statement – “To advance research and training in international and development law for sustainable global prosperity.” 

In addition to the Diploma and LL.B programmes it offers, plans are at an advanced stage to launch the Master of Laws degree (LL.M), to offer specialisations in the School’s niche area of “International and Development Law”.

Among the School’s notable alumni are the South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro and  Johana Ng’eno Kipyegon, MP for Emurua Dikir. For an institution that is barely nine years old, it’s a remarkable achievement.  

To reach its current heights, the School has benefited from the MKU national lead and dominance in ICT infrastructural capability, and has integrated ICT into its learning processes as well as transforming theoretical lecture-room lessons into practical mooting sessions by the use of the state-of-the-art moot court owned by the University.

The moot court has a capacity of 100 people and is interlinked to an adjoining room with a capacity of 110 people. The School has also benefitted from a donation of many books and other materials from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other benefactors, including local authors such as Dr Kariuki Muigua, adding to the Ksh10 million already spent in acquiring the ultra-modern library.

The School of Law Library is a depository of knowledge and skills in form of academic information and resources for the benefit of users – the students and staff. 

The library services are automated and are executed using KOHA information management system. The computers are fully networked with free internet for library patrons and Amazon kindles (e-Book readers) for access to online resources.

The ICT facilities and Wi-Fi enabled library environment enhances use of laptops, smart phones and other gadgets within the campus.  

The MKU Parklands Law Campus’s library is a member of Kenya Library Information Services Consortium (KLISC), where it has subscribed to online journals, a variety of e-books and other online databases accessible to all students and staff even at the comfort of their homes.

In contributing to research and the development of law, The campus publishes a law journal which is peer-reviewed and recognised internationally. The journal welcomes articles on any aspect of law. 

MKU School of Law students have also competed in international moot court competitions and most notably, space-related moot court contests. In 2013, the School hosted one of these competitions. It also hosted an international workshop on space law the same year.

Celebrating full accreditation

The institution celebrated the achievement with an elaborate public lecture/luncheon at the Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi on the 17August. Among those in attendance were the Rwandan High Commissioner to Kenya Ambassador James Kimonyo, Law Society representative, David Njoroge and Deputy Speaker to the National Assembly Moses Cheboi and a host of other legislators.

MKU is the largest Private University in East and Central Africa, enjoying the support and assistance of various governments. (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up