The Governance of Vocational/Professional Legal Education in the Commonwealth Caribbean - A Case Study of the Council of Legal Education


This research is a qualitative exploratory case study that examines the governance and administrative arrangements in professional legal education in the English-speaking Caribbean through the lens of the various missions of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) which was created, in conjunction with the Faculty of Law (UWI), to produce a knowledgeable and skilled Caribbean lawyer passionate to transform his society. At inception, the CLE was ahead of its time as a regional, postcolonial, multinational, multisystem, institution of professional legal education designed to produce lawyers to fill the needs of the legal services industry in the Caribbean. The primary research method is documentary analysis examining the treaty that birthed it and its foundation and policy documents through which I examine its governance and administrative structure and policy framework. I also use reports, institutional reviews and un/published commentary from academics and authoritative stakeholder interests, as well as newspaper commentary from the general public. Semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and a closed survey were also used with the major stakeholders of the CLE to determine the effectiveness of these systems in achieving its institutional missions. My findings show the CLE conforms to what I perceive to be a postcolonial system of legal education. While it was avant garde for its time in legal education, its governance and administrative structure has been challenged in supporting its missions through a flawed governance structure; lack of an articulate policy framework and adherence to fundamental principles of democratic governance; and the absence a quality assurance system and central executive leadership. In spite of these challenges, the CLE has several unique advantages to reemerge as a global force in legal education if it is successful at the necessary systemic reforms; harnessing the creativity of Caribbean people; and facilitating a new entrepreneurial model of legal education.


Table of Contents


Commonwealth Caribbean, Legal education, Vocational education, Professional education