The Nigerian Law School was set up by the federal government in 1962, for providing Nigerian legal education to foreign-trained lawyers and practical training to aspiring legal practitioners in the country for a period of one year.
Students who pass the Bar final examinations are given certificates by the Council of Legal Education and called to the Bar.
Currently, there are six campuses spread across Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Bayelsa and Adamawa States respectively, including the Federal Capital territory.
Director-General, Nigerian Law School, Professor Isa Chiroma, in the 2018/2019 Call to the Bar ceremony, noted that stakeholders from East and West Africa have visited the law school to solicit information on the establishment and development of law schools in their various countries.
Meanwhile, it has become worrisome that between 17% to 43% of candidates who sat for the last examinations failed.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Muyiwa Atoyebi, identified pressure and panic within the week of the Bar final examinations as a major factor responsible for mass failure.
“Sometimes, what the students hear, matters a lot. When you begin to tell them that it is difficult, then they will have the mindset that it is difficult. For the first class students, they need to take ten steps further. That’s why anybody that makes a first-class, you have a permanent job with us for your service year.”
The year 2014 and 2015 witnessed the highest rate of failure, 43.1% in 2014 and 32.2% in 2015.
This was redeemed in 2016 as the failure rate dramatically dropped at 20%, only to spike again to 28% in 2017.
In August 2018, 965 candidates were recorded to have failed the examinations, representing 16.51% of the number of candidates at the time, while 161 candidates bagged first-class, the highest so far in the history of the law school, in that year’s Bar final.
In 2019, 43.10%, translating to 720 of the total of 1,680 candidates who took the resit Bar exams failed.
According to section 4(2) of the Legal Practitioners Act, candidates with conditional passes cannot make it to Bar just like their colleagues that recorded outright failure.
Just recently, Professor Chiroma issued a statement on the results of the Bar final examinations conducted in January 2020, which indicates that out of the 2,515 candidates that participated in the exams, only 5 candidates bagged first-class while 632 candidates failed, representing 25.12% of the total number of those who sat for the exams.
In this regards, parents and guardians have often been advised, to counsel their children and wards before they check their results to avoid trauma in the eventuality of failure.
Mr Muyiwa Atoyebi (SAN), highlighted a way in which the standard of the law school could be improved.
“Nowadays, a facility for 500 people has about 5,000 people using it. If only we begin to expand our infrastructure to make room for larger number of people, then the students can study and graduate comfortably. “
A student who passed this year’s Bar final examinations from the Bwari campus of the law school, Miss Nneamaka Ogbaga, shared her experiences.
“The syllabus in the law school is crazy. You have so much to cover in so little time. You have to prepare for a new topic everyday and if you miss reading for a day, it piles up.”
On the converse, one of the law students from the Yola campus of the law school who failed this year’s Bar final examinations said he collapsed when he saw his results.
“I was rushed to the hospital. That was where I was resuscitated and I couldn’t even tell my parents that I failed.
To my understanding, I felt I read very well but I’ve actually seen that Bar final exams is not for the most intelligent. “
The student who pled to remain anonymous urged lecturers of the law school across the country to desist from creating tension and anxiety to law students but establish a cordial relationship with them as they prepare for their Bar final examinations.