By Candia Emmanuel
The Director of the Law Development Centre (LDC) established by the Law Development Center Act Cap 132 of the laws of Uganda on the 13th of June 2022 announced the appointment of the new management committee pursuant to section 7(b) of the constitutive Act.
This comes against the backdrop of the term of the previous management Committee having expired and causing a stagnation in the functionality of the institution. This announcement thus comes in momentously.
The Law Development Centre Act, establishes the Management Committee whose functions include the administration and management policy of the centre and the enforcement of the said policies. Among other committee members, the Act establishes four permanent ex officio positions on this governing body, including, the Solicitor General, the Head of the Department or Faculty of Law, Makerere University, the Director of LDC and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry responsible for education.
Having been enacted in the era when Makerere University was the only recognized public Legal Education training institution, reserving a permanent position for its head was deeply warranted.
However, following the liberalization of Legal Education in Uganda at the close of 20th Century, there has been a spike in the number of chartered private Universities offering Legal Education across the country.
A statutory ring-fencing of a position for one University in a continuously growing sea of legal education institutions is in the least discriminatory, a turning of a blind-eye to the realities, and, a softly total-disregard of the very liberal legal education policy adopted and operationalized nearly two decades ago.
To eliminate this obvious flaw, the Parliament of Uganda should consider a review and amendment of the Law Development Centre Act by giving consideration to other chartered institutions to participate in informing the governance of LDC. This can bring other innovative approaches from the private and civil society to improve governance and policy setting at the LDC.
Though this proposal can lead to the ballooning of the committee size, innovative ways can be adopted to limit the negative policy and budgetary constraints. One of the ways to address the statutory rigidity is through providing for a rotational approach –where the head of a faculty in one institution serves for a two-year term and is replaced by another one from a different one for a similar timeline.
Alternatively, such change can be achieved through the creation of a lose association of Deans or Principals of Legal Education Institutions democratically electing one of their own to serve on the committee. Such a lose association can also act as a forum for peer reviewing the delivery standards of legal training among the existing member institutions.
Even without considering these suggestions at all, there is nothing so right as doing what is right. As it is said, there is nothing powerful as an idea whose time is ripe. It is only just, fair and equitable that the statutorily fixated position in the LDC Act is amended in tandem with the changing times, legal and policy frameworks obtaining in the country.
The writer is an Advocate,
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