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GOVERNMENT has finally taken measures to redress the shameful performance of the Zambia Institute for Advanced Legal Education where only 16 out of 238 in 2016 qualified to become lawyers

Minister of Justice Given Lubinda yesterday announced that government had now taken measures to improve the passing rate at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) to ensure that the country has sufficient lawyers to meet the growing litigation demand.

He said the passing rate at ZIALE was designed to limit the number of lawyers and therefore, create an artificial deficit resulting in many Zambians failing to access justice.

The situation, he said, was totally unnecessary, artificial as it precluded Zambians from accessing legal services when confronted with litigation in courts of law which were themselves steeped in tradition and practice that made it impossible for the ordinary man to comprehend and navigate effectively.

It was for this reason he said that government had decided to take measures to ameliorate the situation to enable more capable students to qualify and become lawyers to serve the large majority of Zambians seeking legal representation.

Early this year government announced that it would take action on the low pass rate at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Law Education (ZIALE) and will not allow a situation were only 16 out of 360 students were being admitted to the bar. Mr Lubinda challenged Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, who was ZIALE board chairman, to submit a report on the matter.

He said he would not close his eyes on the matter, adding that after receiving a report from the Attorney General he would engage other people to look into it and advise on the course of action to take to ensure that the pass rate was improved. “Yes, we do not want ZIALE to churn out lawyers who are less than qualified. We do not want quacks in the profession in Zambia because if you do have that you would be providing people poor quality legal services which is the same as denying them justice.

“However, I don’t think we can continue with that kind of low pass rate. There are certainly things that can be done – one of them has already been implemented.  It is to expand the campus; there is a new campus that is being built for ZIALE to try and increase the learning space for students,” he said. Mr Lubinda said once there were many qualified lawyers on the market, the cost of legal services would be expected to reduce.

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