Zimbabwe Institute of Legal Studies chief, Goodwills Masimirembwa (l) and Law Society of Zimbabwe President Tinoziva Bere
THE attack by Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) on Goodwills Masimirembwa and his Zimbabwe Institute of Legal Studies (ZILS) smacks of victimisation and argument advanced carries no justice.
The Institute will be offering Diplomas in various fields of law. In particular it is offering about four law diplomas which are Diploma in Applied Law, Diploma in Forensic Science and Crime Investigations, Diploma in Commerce and Law and Diploma in Mineral Law and Policy.
The expected targeted market is not lawyers per se, but anyone whose job would involve elements of law.
This idea should be commended as it would increase and brigade the gap of knowledge which exists in some professions like Chartered Accountants, Economists, and Business Executives.
The corporate field has radically changed and evolved. It now demands that accountants or even geologists have a working knowledge of the law, hence the introduction of the Diploma in Commerce and Law and Diploma in Mineral Law and Policy.
This is knowledge one would not have acquired their specialized qualifications.
LSZ has taken upon itself to discredit this institution through its communication in the press.
It does not recognize the qualifications being offered by Zimbabwe Institute of Legal Studies.
One then wonders the motive and intentions of LSZ on its stance.
This is an organization which still holds that legal education is only for lawyers and that legal education should only be for a selected few.
It spearheaded the closure of the Faculty of Law at the then Great Zimbabwe University and Midlands State University sweated for its approval of the law degree.
It took the Midlands State University four or more years to get its approval.
Zimbabwe with all its sophisticated economy and society cannot be expected to have only two law schools.
We need legal education to be extended and made available to various professions without those professionals becoming lawyers.
Amongst other things, the LSZ has the powers to make recommendations in relation to training and to encourage and promote the study of efficiency and responsibility on the part of those seeking registration.
LSZ therefore only regulates the legal training of those who want to be registered by them and those people can only be lawyers.
Zimbabwe Institute of Legal Studies is not training lawyers. It is training people so that they can become legal technicians and legal executives.
If the Law Society of Zimbabwe was sincere in its “vested interest in legal training”, why does it not help the institute in establishing proper learning structures?
LSZ does not help the public which it purports to serve.
Is it not in the public interest for various professions to be taught the law component on which they would be encountering in the discharge of their duties?
Surely geologists and other related professions need to be educated about mineral law and policy without them becoming ‘learned friends’.
If the Council for Legal Education, the body tasked to ensure the maintenance of appropriate standards legal education and training in Zimbabwe gave them the green light, why then does the LSZ complain?
LSZ de-registered many lawyers before, including Dr. Lovemore Madhuku. For all we know LSZ had no objection in Madhuku lecturing in law at the University of Zimbabwe, but do not want the rehabilitated Masimirembwa to enter into academia and do the same as Dr. Madhuku. This time, Masimirembwa is not only lecturing, but owning the institution. Precedent?
We can only speculate that Masimirembwa is being persecuted because of his political affiliation with Zanu PF. If that is the case, then LSZ has gone to the dogs and it needs to be saved.
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