Mr. Mwaniki started the briefing by stating that the Pre-bar entry exam was introduced through the KSL Act, 2012, as recommended by a taskforce on legal education standards. He stressed that the examination is not intended to bar anyone from joining the premier bar school and observed that while most students meet all the requisite standards to be admitted into the KSL, some others do not, hence the need for an entry examination. He further clarified that the 2017 Pre-bar examinations will be the first, despite the KSL Act coming into force in November, 2012.
On the issue of eligibility to sit the examinations, Mr. Mwaniki stated that applicants will be required to meet the following requirements:
1. Applicants must have a minimum of a C+ (Plus) mean grade in KCSE and a B (Plain) in either English or Kiswahili, in case of 8-4-4.
2. Applicants possessing qualifications not based on the 8-4-4 systems, must provide written evidence of equation/clearance from the Kenya National Examinations Council, demonstrating the equivalent of 1 above.
3. All students must have an LLB degree from a recognized university or be eligible to be conferred with such an LLB degree.
To sit the examinations, applicants shall be required to pay a total non-refundable examination fee of Kshs. 7,000 which will comprise of a registration fee of Ksh. 2,000 and examination fee of Ksh. 5,000.
A notice will be issued setting out the dates for the examination, which will be a single paper (4 hours) testing on five key areas, namely;
1. Legal Systems and Methods
2. Law of Torts
3. Law of Contract
4. General principles of Constitutional law
5. Criminal law
The examination will also be testing the students’ mastery of law, legal technique, language of the law and proficiency in English language. Students were further informed that the pass mark for the test will be 50% (fifty percent) and that the examination shall not be subject to a remark. Students who fail the 2017 examinations will be allowed to retake them the next time they are on offer. Those who pass them shall get a provisional admission to the KSL.
There ensued a plenary discussion on different aspects of the examination. First, a student sought clarification on the format of the examination. To those questions, Mr. Mwaniki responded stating that the examination shall not be of a multiple choice but shall contain ten compulsory questions on the five (5) areas of law.
Another student asked a question on the options a student had if they fail the 2017 examinations and sought clarification on the eligibility of students finishing their LLBs in December, a month after the examinations. In response, it was stated that students who fail the 2017 examinations will retake the examination in 2018 and that those who will neither have their LLBs nor be qualified for conferment shall not be allowed to sit the examination. It was also clarified that there is no limit as to the number of times a student can sit the pre-bar examinations and that no student shall be exempted from sitting them.
As to whether applicants possessing IGCSE qualifications were required to possess ‘A level’ or ‘O level’ certificates, it was reiterated that such students should visit the KNEC and have their grades equated to KCSE. Only students possessing LLBs from foreign universities will be required to seek clearance from the Council for Legal Education (CLE).
The briefing ended at 1600hrs with closing remarks from RLS faculty, Ms. Florence Shako.