HL Deb 31 January 1961 vol 228 cc89-91

2.36 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action is being taken to implement the recommendations of the Committee on Legal Education for students from Africa (Cmnd. 1255.)]


My Lords, the Committee have submitted a most useful Report in a remarkably short time. I should like to express my gratitude to my noble and learned friend Lord Denning and the members of his Committee, and my right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for the Colonies and for Commonwealth Relations wish to be associated with me in this tribute. I have consulted both my right honourable friends and have, with their concurrence, commended the recommendations in Chapter 1 of the Report to the Inns of Court, the General Council of the Bar, the Law Society and the Council of Legal Education for their consideration. As to Chapters II and III, copies of the Report have been sent by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Governments of African territories for which he has a responsibility, and by the Commonwealth Relations Secretary to the High Commissioner for Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland. The two Secretaries of State will consult with the authorities concerned and I hope that it will be possible for a statement to be made in due course.


My Lords, may I thank the noble and learned Viscount for that very encouraging Answer and also for the great interest which he personally has taken in this matter? May I ask him whether he has made up his mind with reference to the proposed college or school of law, and could he give us any information on that matter? Secondly, with reference to the various legal authorities in this country which he has mentioned, would he use his great influence to try to persuade them to show some imagination and sense of urgency in the joint training of law students, faculties which up to now have been conspicuous by their absence?


My Lords, with regard to the first part of the noble Lord's question, in paragraphs 51 and 57 of the Report the Committee recommended that the University College of Tanganyika should be established there as soon as possible and that it should have as one of its principal features a law faculty. The Report refers to the fact that Her Majesty's Government have decided to contribute £350,000 within the next 3½ years. In fact, the appointment of a site-planning consultant for the College is in hand and the Inter-University Council is looking for a Principal-Designate and the other staff needed in the initial stages of the College's development. The law faculty is being given top priority and will be set up as soon as can be arranged in Dar es Salaam, probably in temporary accommodation.

Mr. S. G. Davies, lecturer in law at Hull University, visited East Africa in December to advise the Governments on the problems involved by the establishment of the faculty, and the East African Governments are studying his report. It is hoped that students might be admitted for the academic year 1961–62. The College will be inter-territorial arid the East African Governments would normally contribute towards the recurrent costs of the College. The cost of acquiring the site in Dar es Salaam will be met from the Tanganyika Higher Education Trust Fund and, as I stated before, Her Majesty's Government have made a grant of £350,000.

With regard to the second part of the noble Lord's question, I can only say, as a matter of history, that the Report was received on December 19 and published on January 18. The legal authorities in England, which I have mentioned, were approached on my behalf on the same day.


My Lords, may I ask the noble and learned Viscount one further question arising out of the second part of his reply? Will he give serious consideration, in consultation, of course, with the legal authorities, to any alterations that may be required in our present system of legal education to meet the special needs of African and other overseas students? Does he not agree that the present system of legal education is intended for people who are going to practise in this country and not for people who are going to practise overseas?


My Lords, of course the system was primarily designed for persons who are going to practise in this country. It has been adjusted, but there are various other adjustments suggested in great detail—but, I hasten to say, in a most readable form—in the Report. I was most impressed by them and I am sure they will be most carefully considered. I think they cover the point which the noble Earl has in mind.


My Lords, may I, as one who takes some little part in the problem of training these African students, express very great appreciation of the energy and enthusiasm which the noble and learned Viscount himself has put into this matter? I think he is the driving force to which we largely owe the Denning Committee and their Report. Further, may I express the hope that he will continue to exercise this enthusiasm and pressure, because only if enthusiasm and pressure is exercised will the plan go ahead?

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