The Kenya School of Law (the School) was established in 1963 when a total of 11 students were admitted. The School was located on 4 acre plot on Valley Road where the University of Nairobi’s Dental School currently stands. The premises were formerly a maternity wing of the Nairobi Hospital. The School was a department of the Attorney General’s Office until July 2001, when it acquired the status of a semi-autonomous government agency. As an effort to boost training activities at the School, the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, financed the purchase of the current modern and spacious premises at Karen. The School took occupation of the new premises in January, 2005.
In an effort to address some of the issues linked to education and training for a competent and professional legal profession, both the pre and post-colonial governments have undertaken various initiatives and set up commissions of inquiry to formulate appropriate policy. Some of these include the Denning Committee (1962); the Akiwumi Committee (1995) on the Status and Management of the Kenya School of Law; the Kwach Committee (1998) on the Administration of Justice. The recommendations of these committees still form the bulwark of policy on legal education and training in the Country. The recommendations of the Akiwumi Report in particular culminated in the establishment of the Council of Legal Education (the Council) under the Council of Legal Education Act, Cap 16A of the Laws of Kenya (now repealed).
The Council of Legal Education was established as an independent statutory body in 1995 with the specific mandate to organize and conduct courses for the development of legal professionals; conduct courses for Government personnel on the general understanding of the law and organizing Para-legal courses and programmes. In addition, the Council of Legal Education (CLE) was to offer fellowships, scholarships and bursaries and establish, manage and control training institutions for Legal Education in the country. The law further transferred the School from the Office of the Attorney-General and placed it under the Council as one of the institutions to be run by the Council.
In 2005, the Minister for the time being responsible for justice and constitutional affairs, Hon. Kiraitu Murungi, appointed a Task Force (the Muigai Task Force) on the Development of Policy and Legal Framework for Legal Education and Training in Kenya. The Muigai Task Force undertook a comprehensive re-evaluation of legal education and training in Kenya and made recommendations to re-design and re-establish all legal institutions implementing legal policy in Kenya. The impetus of these recommendations was to institutionalize international best practice and segregate institutions carrying out regulatory cum supervisory functions from those carrying out training functions. The Muigai Report was officially launched by the subsequent Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs, the Hon. Ms. Martha Karua, EGH, MP on 18th January, 2006.
One of the major recommendations of the Muigai Taskforce was to delink KSL from the Council. This was in form of structure, role and functions as a training agency of the Government in the legal sphere. This recommendation resulted in the School as an independent legal entity by the enactment of the Kenya School of Law Act, 2012, which provides that the School shall “be a public legal education provider responsible for the provision of professional legal training as an agent of the Government”. The key mandate of the School under the Act is to provide advocates training, paralegal training, continuing professional development, projects, research and consultancies.
Currently the School has two campuses: the main Campus is located in Karen along Langata South Road Nairobi, while the town campus is located within the Central Business District (CBD) along Moi Avenue – Development House, 5th & 6th Floor. Other than offering quality legal training, the School offers a spacious modern cafeteria, seminar and conference rooms, modern lecture theatre with public address system, hostel facilities with self-contained single and double rooms with flat screen television sets among others. These facilities may be hired by the general public when they are not in use by students.