Law school in Guyana will address overcrowding in Region – AG Nandlall

…says this is part of making Guyana an “education destination”

With Guyana on the verge of setting up its own law school, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, has stated that this move will not only benefit the country and its students, but will also help to address overcrowding at similar institutions across the Region.
Nandlall made this remark during this week’s edition of his programme – Issues in the News.
Last week, the Council for Legal Education (CLE) in the Caribbean indicated that it would formally write the Guyana Government on the requirements needed to establish a law school in Georgetown. The CLE administers legal professional education in the Caribbean under the Caricom Treaty.
According to Nandlall, this move is significant not just for Guyanese students, who are currently forced to attend the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, with only the 25 top law students from the University of Guyana allowed each year into the programme.
In addition to Hugh Wooding, there are two other CLE-operated law schools in the Region – Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica and Eugene Dupuch Law School in The Bahamas. However, the Attorney General pointed out that for some reason, the law schools in Trinidad and Jamaica were mare sought after thus resulting in overcrowding with students not only from the Region but beyond attending.
“There is a serious overcrowding in those two law schools. Those two law schools cannot accommodate the hundreds and hundreds of students churned out by University of the West Indies, the University of Guyana, University of Jamaica, University of Trinidad and Tobago, University of London and other universities across North America and United Kingdom.
“As a result, you have in Guyana alone, possibly over 200 or 300 persons who have LLB degrees, but have not been able to go to a law school. You have a few hundred if not thousands in Trinidad; you have a few thousand in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean, and then you have so many other people. So, this law school [in Guyana] will be able to address the backlog of existing students,” he contended.
The Attorney General further stated that with the Guyana Law School adding to the Region’s capacity to accommodate students, intake in the universities was going to increase.
Moreover, he outlined that the establishment of a law school here would enhance the country’s portfolio of becoming a premier educational destination in the Region.
“We are already in the process of attracting many offshore universities of international standing and reputation to come and establish operations here. This law school will be another extension of that initiative, which we are pursuing. When we bring people to this country, they will spend money here; they will rent; they will live here, and that brings revenue to the country and that’s another stream of revenue that we are pursuing. So, from every perspective Guyana as a country and Guyanese will benefit spectacularly from this initiative,” Nandlall asserted.
Previously, there were attempts by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Administration in 2017 to set up a law school in Guyana, but it was denied permission from the CLE.
But AG Nandlall made it clear that Guyana would not steer away from the auspices of the regional Council.
“I made it clear that Guyana will continue to be part of that regional umbrella. That we will not act insularly, but we will act as a part of a collective. That we don’t want a law school here that will not be part of the Council of Legal Education, but we want the Council’s law school here, because that Council law school has international standing… It has respect in the academic world. And we want a law school here that will have that type of academic respect in the international arena. That its graduates will be recognised by countries across the world as the other Council’s law schools are recognised,” the Attorney General asserted.
Last month, Nandlall disclosed that he, along with top officials in the local Judiciary, met with the CLE during which Guyana presented its case for the Council’s law school to be set up here.
He informed the Council that unlike the previous proposal by his predecessor, the current Guyana Government is proposing that the law school be a CLE institution – to be managed and administered by the Council but that the Government will provide the land and buildings based upon criteria and specifications set by the CLE.
“This request was favourably considered, and the Council made a decision to write the Government of Guyana shortly, informing of this decision and setting out the criteria and other requirements which the Government will have to satisfy,” a missive from the AG office detailed.
For nearly three decades, Guyana has been trying to establish a law school within its jurisdiction.
Every year, Guyanese students are faced with enormous financial burden, including $6,616,548 in tuition/compulsory fees for the two-year programme offered at the Hugh Wooding Law School.
This, coupled with the cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago, has deterred many persons from pursuing a legal career.
In response to this, the Government of Guyana now offers limited fully-funded scholarships to Hugh Wooding Law School. These scholarships are open to new and continuing students.