Penultimate week, the Council of Legal Education released the bar final examination results conducted between April and May this year.
The council is statutorily charged with the responsibility of conducting final bar examinations for prospective lawyers who are subsequently called to the Bar after fulfilling certain conditions both in character and learning.
A breakdown of the results indicates that 1,805 out of 5,588 who sat for the exams failed. This failure rate in the institution that provides future man-power for an arm of government is quite disturbing.
It is more worrisome that a higher percentage of those who were unsuccessful in the bar exams came from the rank of those who had to re-sit. Out of 2,736 candidates in this category, a total of 990 still failed. The other 875 candidates who did not pass in their first attempt added up to the figure of failure recorded this year.
The poor performance is a reflection of the quality of products churned out by various universities’ law faculties. In the recent past, the Council of Legal Education had withdrawn the accreditation of some law faculties that could not meet the required standards, such as well-equipped law libraries, quality academic staff including professors and conducive lecture halls, among others.
Successive directors-general of the school had lamented falling standards in legal education in the country. The longest serving DG of the School, late Chief J.K Jegede, SAN, was the first to raise the alarm.
Such a concern is not out of place because the quality of lawyers produced now will determine the quality of judicial officers the nation would be saddled with. That is why stakeholders should come together to salvage the situation before it is too late.
This is imperative especially when it is viewed against the backdrop of the crucial role of the judiciary not only in a democratic dispensation but in nation building as a whole. Every democratic society thrives on the rule of law, equity and justice. The alternative to this is anarchy.
Because the judiciary is the last hope of the downtrodden, the quality of lawyers produced, some of whom would later become judges, should be a collective concern. A lasting solution should be proffered by the Law School rather than mere lamentations.
The Nigerian Law School should ensure that its own standard is not compromised. The Council of Legal Education should insist that law faculties that fail to measure up to its requirements are barred from sending students for admission to the Law School.
Students for re-sit exams at the Law School must be made to attend pre-examination tutorial classes since the refusal to do so has been identified as their major undoing.
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