Thursday, November 21, 2013
My Appeal against LDC Bar Course Examination Results
Law Development Centre,
P.O Box 7117,
Thursday, 21 November, 2013
EXAMINATION APPEALS COMMITTEE,
LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE,
P.O. BOX 7117,
Re: Appeal against Bar Course Examination Results
In accordance with Rule 26 of the Rules Governing the Passing of the Bar Course (hereinafter, the Rules), I hereby present my appeal against some of my examination results, as released by the LDC Board of Examiners (hereinafter, the Board) on 11 November, 2013 and considered and approved by the LDC Management Committee, on 13 November, 2013. According to the results, I was discontinued from the Bar Course, for failing four of the six examinable subjects to wit, Civil Proceedings, Commercial Transactions, Domestic Relations and Land Transactions. I now come before the Examination Appeals Committee (hereinafter, this Committee) seeking a reconsideration of my results and reversal of the discontinuation from the course. But before I present the substance of my appeal, kindly allow me to express a few concerns, reservations and/or displeasures about this appeal process.
It has been reliably brought to my attention that this Committee is indolent, so much so that even its very own have contemptuously acknowledged it as incompetent and a nonstarter. A case in point is when our dear Mrs Mutabingwa K. Annette, told is in class that she advised a student who intended to appeal against his examination results, last academic year, in the following terms: “My brother, don’t waste your time with appeals. Those things don’t work. Just prepare to repeat the course.” Then, recently, one of my discontinued former classmates also intended to appeal aginst his results, but when he consulted the Deputy Director (doubling as Head of Academics), Mrs Nakacwa Florence Dollo, on the possibility of success, as far as I can recollect, she reportedly had the following advice for him: “Ignore the appeal. Just concentrate your mind on redoing the course next year. You will pay your money; the Committee won’t sit, not until probably January next year and your appeal won’t even succeed.” These are strong and honest statements coming from some of LDC’s topmost and finest, that cannot be simply wished away. My coming before this apparently condemned as toothless Committee, may easily be termed as truly daring. Whereas I had a prior discussion with the Acting Head, Bar Course, Mr Stephen Mubiru, about this issue, who told me that this Committee is active, he was nevertheless, at pains to point out a single successful appeal, at least for about 20 years that he has been here. So, I am left wondering whether this Committee grants justice or mere Confirmations of Death; call them Death Certificates. Moreover, I had to pay for it – Uganda shillings fifty thousand only, per paper (Ugx 50,000/=), even after I paid full tuition that includes examination fees. This begs the question: am I compensating LDC for its inadequacies? This question makes more sense if one’s appeal is successful; will LDC refund my unnecessary expenses incurred in pursuing an appeal, caused by its own shortcomings?; is it a disincentive of sorts to frustrate intended appeals; and could this partly explain why this Committee, in its entire history and existence, hardly does its job and has an easy ride dismissing students’ appeals, if it ever graciously does, anyway? These and more questions present a ridiculous situation altogether.
The Substance of the Appeal
Having said that, I now proceed to the merits of my appeal as follows:
Rule 26(1) of the Rules states the grounds upon which an appeal can be made namely, that (a) there is injustice apparent on the face of the record; (b) there are new matters of evidence; (c) there were errors or irregularities; (d) the rules were not followed; or (e) the interest of justice so requires.
In a situation where an appellant, like me, wasn’t able to witness or monitor the marking and general assessment exercise, these grounds, as enshrined in the Rules and the entire appeal process, definitely present huge challenges to argue and prove, thereby becoming somewhat complicated and rather unfair. Nevertheless, students are expected to blindly maneuver through, like miracle workers of sorts. I shall do my best.
First, with regard to Civil Proceedings, my results indicate that I obtained 39%. Without argument, I would like to concede this failure because after writing this paper, I realized that I had misfired one of the numbers and hadn’t finished the other. Therefore, I reasonably believe that I failed it. In my second year at university, during one of our public lectures, Justice Kanyeihamba advised us that a good lawyer is one who concedes a bad point, and moves on to another, without wasting court’s time. So, without unnecessary argument, I would like to follow this wise counsel, by not contesting the Board’s verdict and that ordinarily makes me a suitable candidate for a supplementary paper.
Second, I contest the results of the other three papers i.e. Commercial Transactions (29%), Domestic Relations (45%) and Land Transactions (41%), on grounds (a), (c) and (e), as stated in Rule 26(1) of the Rules. I strongly doubt I failed these three papers because I understood all the set questions and was by and large able to complete writing my answers. After spending about 20 years in the school system and successfully doing several sets of exams, I have developed sufficient capacity to gauge my performance and fairly predict the final outcome. As far as I am concerned, based on my well tested personal assessment model, these were confirmed passes; totally and completely, with nothing below 65% total marks. On this premise therefore, and bearing in mind the handicap that I wasn’t able to monitor the assessment process, I strongly believe that upon close scrutiny of my results, this Committee, will inevitably find that the Board’s decision discontinuing me ought to be reversed, due to (i) apparent injustices on the face of the record; (ii) existence of errors or irregularities in assessing my performance; and (iii) that the interest of justice requires so. I so pray.
Finally, I believe that this Committee – the intended great lion of justice – will awaken from its deep slumber to give me and others, due and deserved justice; assuming it is fully independent of the alleged lecturers’ networks that Mr Tweyanze Lawrence, said in open class, would ensure my failure of the Bar Course. By copy of this appeal, the under-mentioned LDC officers are humbly requested to help me get deserved justice in this matter especially, by having this Committee do its work as expected.
Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
c.c. (i) The Chairperson, LDC Management Committee
(ii) The Director, Law Development Centre,
(iii) The Deputy Director, Law Development Centre
(iv) The Acting Head, Department of Postgraduate Legal Studies (Bar Course)