The Inaugural Law Conference 2014
In an informative and knowledgeable way, the first Strathmore Law School Annual Law Conference, themed Justice and Jurisprudence: Nation Building through Facilitating Access to Justice took place on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4thJuly, at Strathmore University. The Conference which was graced by Deans from various Law schools around the world including, the Dean of Law Oxford University, Legal scholars, Practitioners, Judiciary Officers, Researchers, Law Students and other interested Stakeholders both local and international, saw the panelists present their papers arguing out the theme.
In his warm opening remarks, Vice Chancellor Strathmore University, Prof John Odhiambo commended the Faculty of Law for showing great potential albeit the period of the school running, two years. He also urged the Law students to take in as much as they can from the conference, stating that he hopes with this exposure they will attain good expertise for their future. The guest of Honor, Hon Githu Muigai was also pleased to be in the conference, encouraging all participants to have an open mind during the two day session.
Former Attorney General UK, RT. Hon. Baroness Patricia Scotland gave a brief history of her time in office as the first female Attorney General terming it as challenging but exciting. She cheered on law students welcoming them to what she termed as the most challenging club in the world owned by the law. In her closing statement, she said To the teachers, what you do and the skill used will determine the jurisprudence of the future. To jurors I would like to see all of us, common law jurors come together to find solutions. And finally to everyone, anything UK can do Africa can do too, I believe together we can.
The objective of the conference was to examine the definition of justice, impunity, immunity and their interplay vis-à-vis access to justice. The term justice was conceptualized in various ways. 1) The Romans are known to have defined justice as the perpetual and constant desire to give to each his own.2) Justice could also mean fairness. In this sense it could connote procedural fairness where every person is entitled to a fair hearing and due process in adjudicative bodies, including the courts. 3) Justice could mean integrity, virtue and ethical conduct.
The participants presented papers on areas related to the subthemes given which included: Justice as the end of law, Justice, immunity and impunity, The role of jurisprudence in nation building, Governance and the Common Good, Justice and the legislative function, The role of the judiciary in nation building, Access to justice and the role of international guidelines and standards, Working towards achieving access to justice for all persons and The role of leadership and good governance in attaining a just society.
In a colorful, graceful event, day one of the conference was concluded with the launch of the first commentary book on the Kenyan constitution written by the Dean, Strathmore Law school Dr. Luis Franceschi and the Director, Kenya School of Law Prof P.L.O Lumumba, titled The Constitution of Kenya 2010: An introductory Commentary. The commentary, which was being worked on from 2005 is set to help Kenyans and various scholars critic the Constitution to make it better for the people.
Both Dr Franceschi and Prof Lumumba were grateful for the support accorded to them by, Lecturers, Law students and the Dean of Law Nairobi University, Prof Patricia Mbote who took time to edit and re-edit the draft to make the book successful and informative. In his welcoming address, the Honorable guest, Hon. Dr. Justice Willy Mutunga congratulated the authors stating that the great book was well needed as the burning issues in their office currently are on the constitution.
Chief guest Justice Willy Mutunga also closed the conference on day two after a round of debates by participants terming the conference a success. He stated that Nation building is not purely economics rather it involves justice to the people.
Third year Law Student rapporteurs presented their reports in the culmination and all panelists awarded gifts for their participation.
In the opening and closing sessions of the conference different groups performed spectacular musical pieces to entertain the guests. The groups included Strathmore Chorale, Amistad and KNYO who did different fine-tuned melodious pieces that saw the participants especially international marveled.