Strathmore Law School (SLS) is one of the constituent schools of Strathmore University (SU), a leading non-profit private university in Kenya, which aims at serving the Kenyan society to the best of its ability. SU holds a peerless reputation for quality in academic and professional education as well as personal formation and research.
The idea of a top-notch law school in Kenya was incubated at SU in 2004 when several young legal scholars were sponsored to do their postgraduate degrees in law at some of the most prestigious law schools in the world. The dream became a reality when SLS was officially launched on 28 April 2012. SLS boasts an exciting combination of local and foreign legal scholars, advocates and legal experts who provide each student with the practical and analytical skills needed to transform society from within.
SLS has grown tremendously over the last ten years since its inception. It has managed to win major moot competitions around the world. Notable among these include the 17th John H. Jackson Moot Competition, Nuremburg Moot Competition, World Human Rights Moot Competition (in two different years), International Commercial Arbitration Moot, ICRC Moot Competition etc. This underscores our mission of providing a supportive learning environment that inspires innovative and critical thinking, promoting ground-breaking research, actively pursuing justice, and nurturing virtuous leaders.
SLS’ vision is to be a centre renowned for excellence in legal education and research, guided by a commitment to pursue justice, to cultivate lawyers of professional competence and moral conviction, and to be the region’s hub for change agents. This has been a work in progress in various ways. SLS publishes the Strathmore Law Journal, a peer reviewed journal that publishes scholarly contributions on topical aspects of African law and the law in Africa. In its early years, the journal has received wide accolades and acknowledgement for knowledge development in Africa and beyond. SLS also publishes Strathmore Law Review, an annual peer-reviewed, student-edited academic law journal.This has been one of our major successes as our students have presented papers in international and regional courses and have also been knowledge pioneers amongst their peers in Kenya and beyond.
SLS is founded upon the values of excellence, justice, societal leadership and innovation. This is exhibited by its unique approach to legal education. Our studies are not only class oriented and we tend to develop new ways to make legal education fun. Apart from the moot competitions, we also conduct some classes through an amazing race activity in one of the forests in Kenya. In this instance we have students in their firms (group divisions in classes for group work), moving from checkpoint to checkpoint answering questions in a topic in a course. This has enabled us to have all students get engaged and have fun while studying. We have also had other activities like ‘Who’s smarter now?’ A question-and-answer activity for specific courses but also for general legal knowledge. This has also enabled us to innovate learning outside the classroom.
SLS has established a group of vibrant forward-thinking research centres which are sector specific. These can be found here https://law.strathmore.edu/research/ . These centres are the foundation upon which our Masters programme is hoisted on as can be seen here https://law.strathmore.edu/llm/ . This approach has set us apart from other institutions around the region.
Further, SLS also has various exchanges with universities, international institutions and firms around the world. This is to enable our students and staff members to gain exposure and engage with legal education beyond the classrooms in SLS. This has helped broaden our horizon and the ambitions of our students and staff members therein.
We have exchanges with institutions in Europe, Africa and East Asia. These include:
1. Beijing Foreign Studies University, China
2. Columbia Law School, USA
3. Cornell University, USA
4. Gondar University, Ethiopia
5. Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China
6. Institute of Law, Nirma University, India
7. University of Gdansk, Poland
8. University of Groningen, Netherlands
9. University of Leiden, Netherlands
10. University of Navarra, Spain
11. Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Chile
12. Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation, Switzerland
13. Queen Mary University of London – United Kingdom
14. Stockholm University, Sweden
15. The Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Hungary
16. Uganda Christian University, Uganda
17. Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Spain
18. Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy
19. Taskkent State University of Law, Uzbekistan
20. Stellenbosch University, South Africa
- Cuatrecasas Law firm, Spain
- Holland and Knight, USA
- Pavia e Ansaldo Law Firm , Italy
- International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), Italy
- International Nuremburg Principles Academy, Germany
- Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Publishing, joint conferences, joint research, Germany
- World Youth Alliance – Internships, Kenyan Office
- International Association of Law Schools
- Law Schools Global League
- Barefoot Law, Uganda
SLS Fact Sheet
These partnerships have helped us expand the opportunities for our Institution and students as well. We also have an academic trip for our students in their third year of law school. This academic trip is aimed at making learning more interesting and out of the class as well. We visit institutions in Europe, notable, the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Parliament etc. This trip helps the students put theory into practice and to interact with the law in person through attending hearings in the courts and meeting the judges and prosecutors of these courts.
SLS also has various governmental and local partnerships. We have the Microsoft and digital transformation as linked to justice i.e. efficient, transparent and accountable processes, but also access to justice. Also, major local law firms, and regional firms/legal partnerships. We also have public sector engagement including independent offices and the (central) government. These all point to an understanding on how society works and recognition for the roles played by different stakeholders.
We also have the legal aid clinics through which our students go to prisons and give legal advice to prisoners and also under the tutelage of our lecturers who are also Advocates, engage in pro bono legal duty so as to ensure access to justice to those who cannot afford the legal costs. Furthermore, we have programmes for our students at the turn of each year. When they finish their first year, they have to undertake 250 hours of community service. After their second year they have to undertake a judicial attachment where they are attached to courts around the country and they get to see how the judicial system works in Kenya. After their third year, they have to undertake an industrial attachment where they have to work in a law firm for 6 weeks so as to get a feel of the law in motion and in practice.
These virtues of SLS among others, have set us apart not only in Kenya and in East Africa. We aim to keep growing and scaling the heights in the legal education sector in and beyond our borders and to nurture all rounded students therein.
Some of the elaborate explanations of what SLS is involved in are highlighted below:
This race has formed part of the coursework for first year students taking Constitutional Law and Legal Systems and Methods for the last five years. The students, usually halfway through the semester, are required to study all the material covered to that point and thereafter in their assigned groups, take part in a race dubbed ‘The Amazing Race’ to test their knowledge thus far. The race is ordinarily in the Karura forest (a forest within Nairobi) where several faculty members are spread at different places considered as pitstops. At the starting point, the groups are provided with the first question that they are then required to answer at the pitstop that follows. While the students are allowed to carry reference material, the testing is open book, the questions are mostly analytical and they are also required to answer them in a record amount of time. In order to move from one pitstop to the next, the students should answer the question correctly which will qualify them for the next stop’s question. If they are unable to answer it correctly, then the group will incur a penalty and attempt to answer the question again. In the event that the answer is still incorrect, then the group forfeits it and moves on to the next pitstop. The winning group would therefore be the one that gets to the end first. This is because they are assumed to be the group with the greatest number of correct answers given in record time.
The rationale behind this is firstly, it is an innovative way of testing that includes various aspects of the students ability to grasp the course content. As the race is done in a group, the students are able to not only maximize on the value of group study in preparation but also teach them teamwork in high stress situations where they have a relatively short distance between pit stops to agree on the answer they would like to present. In addition, based on feedback from the students’, the activity allowed them to remember the material better and easier as they had interacted with the content more as well as used strategies that allowed particular students to specialise within the group then exchange the information with each other.
The 2018 SEL class had one of the more interesting coursework assignments. The students were divided into groups and required to create an online persona with a significant following by the end of the course. This persona’s content was required to reflect the principles and concepts that the students had been learning in class with particular regard to entertainment law. This persona would in the end be graded based on both the following gathered and the implementation of the class concepts in the curation of their image/ personality. In addition, since this class’ inception, the lecturer has provided a disciplinary code that would govern what are considered ‘offences’ and how they will be treated.
Throughout the course, these offences are tallied and particular students are allowed to appear before a disciplinary tribunal that operates in the same way sports arbitral tribunals do. The accused’s group members are responsible for the defence and may sometimes act as prosecution for other group’s accused students. With this, students are able to see the rules of arbitration that apply in sports disputes at work. Students part of the hearing, also have to interact more closely with the arbitration rules which ensures more detailed understanding and easier memorization of them as they have practical examples to refer back to
The Strathmore Law School has participated severally in both national and international moot court competitions the world over. Students are encouraged to participate in both internal and external moot courts from the very first year of their LLB, where they are also able to sharpen their moot skills when these are put to trial in some of their continuous assessment tests. Throughout the academic year, the Law School holds internal moot court competitions, where students from all years are able to form teams of their choosing. These internal rounds are for the purpose of selecting the students that will represent the Law School and sometimes the country in various moot court competitions. The Bench – usually composed of faculty members as well as guest judges who are prominent in the mooting field – examines the participants based on their oratory skills, court etiquette and the strengths of their arguments in order for the winners to be decided upon. As the students will have been honing these skills throughout their degrees, the competition is usually very stiff, however in the end the winners are always chosen and given the opportunity to proceed to the next stage.
In Strathmore Law School, the “mooters” are assigned a mooting coach from the members of faculty, whose selection is dependent on their personal specialty in light of the subject matter of the specific moot court competition. The coach sets aside time and trains the team on the development of their memorials – which are their written submissions to the moot court – as well as their oral submissions. The team will typically prepare for the months leading up to the competition, often having practice after their classes and sometimes even during the weekend. Despite having a dedicated moot coach, the team will often be heard by other faculty members, guest coaches as well as previous mooters in order for the team to have a holistic training – the moot court competitions are very much a “community effort” in the Strathmore Law School.
All the hard work that is put into the training has evidently paid off – Strathmore Law School has emerged victorious in several moot court competitions since its inception, putting the University’s name on the map. The Law School was the talk of the town when, in the 2019 John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition, the representing team defeated the team from Harvard Law School. The team received critical acclaim from across the nation for its efforts, with its members being interviewed on national television and being written about severally in various newspapers. Moreover, each of the members were awarded with academic and professional opportunities as a result of their performance, including full sponsorship tuition for a Masters’ degree at the World Trade Institute in the University of Bern, Switzerland, fully sponsored tuition for a summer school programme at the same, and an internship at TRALAC (Trade Law Centre) South Africa, from among them.
The Law School has managed to train several other teams that have emerged victorious in various other national and international moot court competitions, including:
1. The Pan-African International Humanitarian Law Moot 2014 Overall Winners of the Moot
2. Nuremberg Moot Court Competition 2015 Strathmore Law School scooped the best Oralist Award and also was the Overall Winner of the Moot.
3. All Kenya Moot Court Competition 2015 Overall Winners of the Moot
4. East African Rounds of the Stetson Environmental Law Moot Competition- 2016-Strathmore Law School was the Overall Winner in the Moot.
5. The World Human Rights Moot Court Competition 2016 Scooped an award for the best written Memorials.
6. The National International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition- 2016 Strathmore ranked as the 1st Runners Up
7. All Kenyan Arbitration Moot Competition-2016 Strathmore Law School was the Overall Winners of the Moot.
8. Nuremberg Moot Court Competition 2017 Strathmore Law School scooped the best Oralist Award and also was the Overall Winner of the Moot.
9. The Chinese Arbitration Moot Competition- 2017 Overall Winners of the Moot
10. Equality Now Moot Court Competition 2016/2017 Overall Winners of the Moot and best Oralist as well.
11. The African Regional Round of the ELSA Moot Court Competition-2017- Strathmore ranked as the 1st Runners Up
12. CIPIT Moot Competition 2018 Strathmore were the runners-up in the competition
13. The 32nd Jean Pictet Competition 2019 Strathmore Law School were Runner’s up in the finals
14. The 2019 African Regional Round of the John H. Jackson Moot Competition on WTO Law Strathmore Law School were the winners.
15. The 2019 International Rounds of the John H. Jackson Moot Competition on WTO Law Strathmore Law School were the winners and we won Best Oralist awards as well.
16. The 2019 International Mediation Singapore Strathmore Law School were the runner’s up in the finals.
17. The 2019 Foreign Direct Investment Moot Competition – African Rounds Strathmore Law School were the runner’s up in the finals.
18. The 2020 GIMC Moot Competition – India Strathmore Law School were quarter-finalists.
19. The 2020 African Regional Round of the John H. Jackson Moot Competition on WTO Law Strathmore Law School were the winners.
20. The 2020 African Regional Rounds of the SkaddenArps FDI Moot Court Strathmore Law School were the winners
21. The 2020 Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Competition Strathmore won this Moot Competition with SLS taking one of the ten 10 best speakers’ slot in the initial rounds.
22. The Middle East PreMoot 2021 - Strathmore received 3rd place.
- SLS was one of 2 sub-Saharan schools participating along with University of Nairobi (who unfortunately did not place within the top 10)
- In the Middle East Pre Moot we attended, out of 40 teams, Strathmore received 3rd place. Additionally, we made it through to the elimination rounds of the competition and 3 of our 4 students won individual awards for their performance in the oral pleadings. Jones Day and the kids are all quite happy. (also FYI - UoN who also participated did not receive these accolades). Fenan Estifanos, Winfred Kiberu. Irene Muhoto and Baraka Wanyanga represented SLS.
23. The Alexandria University Pre-Moot 2021 - Strathmore received 3rd place for this one as well.
- SLS was the only school from sub-Saharan Africa participating.
24. Willem C. Vis Moot Competition 2021
- Overall out of 400 teams, Strathmore received 21st place in the opening & guaranteed 4 rounds. Because of this, we easily made it to the elimination rounds limited to the top 64 teams.
- In the elimination rounds, we continued to win. Beating Stetson University from the United States in the round of 64 and beating Saarland University from Germany in the round of 32. Ultimately, we advanced to the round of 16 where we were eliminated. That being said, we represent the only subSaharan African school in the history of the moot to ever advance to the round of 16. This is why we have drawn so much attention - To give this some context, Loyola Chicago, Harvard, NYU, Fordham, and Columbia were all participants in this Moot and none of them advanced past the round of 64.
- Lastly, of the 400 teams and nearly 1600 student oralists, Fenan Estifanos, Irene Muhoro, and Winfed Kiberu won individual awards for being in the top 50 oralists in the entire competition. This is a huge feat.
25. Equality Now Moot 2021 – Strathmore finished in the Semifinals
- Elvira Aketch was the second best oralist in the competition
26. Disability Rights Moot 2021- Strathmore Law School Won
- 2nd place in Memorials
- 2nd best team in Preliminary rounds
27. All Kenya Moot Competition 2021 – Strathmore Law School finished as 1st runners-up
- Best Respondents Memorial
28. All Kenya Moot Competition 2022 – Strathmore Law School finished as 1st runners-up
- Best overall student
- 2nd runner’s up team
- 2nd runner’s up research category
This trip has been a part of the SLS curriculum since 2016. The purpose of it is to expose the students to varied systems of law present in Europe hence discouraging a myopic view of the law. This trip also enables the students to obtain a practical understanding of Public International Law through organizing guided tours of the international courts in Europe.
Preparation of this trip requires two main outputs: development of an academic agenda and logistical planning of the trip. In addressing these two, this handbook shall recast and assess the previous instalment of the trip before delving into the specific activities required to make this trip a successful venture. As aforementioned the purpose of the trip is to expose the students to other legal jurisdictions as well as to have practical interaction with international legal institutions as they study Public International Law and International Criminal Law. The itinerary usually includes:
- A visit to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. The students are given short lectures by some of the Prosecutors and legal counsel on the investigation and prosecution of international crimes and the challenges they face.
- A visit to the International Court of Justice where the students are given a lecture on international law by a judge of the Court.
- Visits to the University of Groningen where students are given guest lectures, and have group discussions with other students from the University. The students also take a Continuous Assessment Test (CAT) for Public International Law course at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
- A visit to the World Food Program (WFP) and UNIDROIT, where the heads of these international institutions give lecture presentations to the students on the workings of these institutions.
The institutions so far visited to date are:
1) The Hague, Netherlands
- International Court of Justice
- Permanent Court of Arbitration
- International Criminal Court
- Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
- International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals
- Kenyan Embassy, in the Hague, The Netherlands
- University of Groningen
- Palace of Justice in The Hague
2) Cologne, Germany
- University of Cologne
3) Strasbourg, France
- Council of Europe
- European Court of Human Rights
- European Parliament
4) Rome, Italy
- World Food Programme (WFP)
- Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
- Dispute Resolution Authority (Dubai International Finance Centre)
6) Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts
We have also visited Luxemburg and Belgium i.e. the EU institutions as well as Switzerland.
The Policy Innovation Centre (PIC) is as a result of a partnership between Microsoft and Strathmore University (SU) (more specifically, Strathmore University Law School (SLS)). It serves as a Centre that fosters collaboration and discussions premised on policy issues that affect society. The Centre attracts stakeholders from different sectors including: academia, the public sector and the private sector who converge and engage in policy discussions that encompass the use of technology in different sectors of industry and business to advance societal development in an efficient, scalable and productive manner. These policy discussions are intended to focus on the following: the justice sector, the health sector, agriculture, education, financial services, data protection and privacy. For future thought leaders to emerge, it is important that an environment that seeks to foster their growth is put in place to ensure that this happens. The PIC can provide this opportune environment for recent graduates and undergraduate students from various fields of study to converge and share ideas thus shaping their understanding and appreciation as to the capabilities of technology with respect to different industries. The students who shall be eligible to take part in the PIC Hub engagement shall be students and University alumni.
The PIC hub will serve as a policy ‘incubator’ for students who portray interest in matters that touch on policy in this prime age of technology. The hub will structure talks and discussions with the students that will form part of the PIC Hub. These talks and discussions will enable students from various fields of study to share their knowledge and to learn more from those who come from other fields thus resulting in the creation of thought leaders who are knowledge- able and driven when it comes to matters that touch on policy and technology with respect to different fields.
The Strathmore Law Clinic (SLC), founded in 2016, is a student-run institution dedicated to furthering access to justice through the provision of accurate legal information to all persons. This is done through advocacy and outreach programs. The SLC is supervised by a Faculty Oversight Board consisting of the Dean of the Law School, a Faculty Director, one other member of faculty and other students nominated by the Steering Committee. However, being student-run in nature, all of the work of the Clinic is carried out by the students. The objective of the Strathmore Law Clinic, since its inception in 2016, is primarily to design projects geared towards providing law students with real life, practical work experience and training them in the spirit of social justice and public service while providing the desperately needed legal services in underserved communities.
The Clinic is divided into three units: the Human Rights Unit. the Criminal Justice Unit and the Entrepreneurship Unit. Each of the units carry out projects with various partners in the fields corresponding to them, having had multiple successful ventures within the last year. The Human Rights Unit’s most recent chosen theme was ‘Combating Sexual and Gender Violence in Kenya’, and so the projects carried out were done so in light of this. These include the End Rape Culture Social Media Campaign and Training Workshop at Centre for Community Development, Kibera and Jitambue Kisheria, where clinicians trained secondary school students on the Law on SGBV. The Criminal Justice Unit developed projects on mentoring juvenile detainees at YCTC, Nairobi and legal training of prisoners at Kiambu GK Prison. The Entrepreneurship Unit executed seminal projects, including Ubunifu Initiative, which trained, among others, creatives in Kenya on their rights under IP Law. The Unit also conducted an Entrepreneurship 101 Project where young entrepreneurs were legally empowered on the legal and practical pitfalls of setting up a business.
The entire Clinic participated in developing a community paralegal program, Sheria Mashinani, where clinicians conducted weekly training sessions to community leaders from Kibera on varied aspects of the law, including, employee’s legal rights, responsibilities of the police and illegal evictions. To execute this project, the Clinic designed a readable Training Manual, which highlights selected legal principles in an easy-to-read format for its target audience. The Clinic builds within students a culture of giving back, augmenting their education with a community-based facet that is necessary in Kenya. As this allows them to put to use their classroom knowledge, it shows students that there is indeed a need for their legal skills in places other than in the courtroom, and highlights that perhaps the ones that need the law the most are those who cannot afford it.
In all these SLS aims to ensure that through the partnerships and activities we are involved they are aimed at ensuring the full student experience and development as we aim to live to our mission of achieving legal excellence by providing a supportive learning environment that inspires innovative and critical thinking, promoting groundbreaking research, actively pursuing justice, and nurturing virtuous leaders.
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