Law programmes under threat

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According to a News24 report today, the Council of Higher Education (CHE) has released a statement naming the University of Limpopo, the University of Zululand and the University of Cape Town (UCT) – one of the world’s top 100 law schools – as three universities in danger of having their law qualification accreditation withdrawn.

Walter Sisulu University’s (WSU) law qualification has already been withdrawn. Without the CHE degree accreditation, a university cannot legally offer a qualification. This is the first time that the council has conducted an overview of LLB programmes, since it was established in terms of the Higher Education Act of 1998. The institutions have until May 2018 to respond to the concerns raised by the council.

A statement released by the University of Cape Town says “UCT Law Faculty is surprised and concerned by the outcome of the National Review of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme. As the top law school in South Africa, we note that our graduates are in high demand from law firms across the country, and the findings are at odds with the performance of our graduates. This long-standing reputation stands in stark contrast with this first ever accreditation process of law degrees by the CHE.”

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the institution was “confident” that it would retain its accreditation, after responding to the concerns raised by the CHE. The faculty would be submitting its revised improvement plan within the next few weeks, Moholola said.