11 November 2010



The Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia, Professor Muhammadou Kah, has said that the University administration is poised and committed to establish a vibrant Law School in The Gambia as well as a clinical programme so as to give legal assistance to those who cannot afford it.

He said these words in a “question and answer” session with Law Students of the University of The Gambia alongside a high-level delegation from City University of New York.

“We are committed to make the law students the next generation of knowledgeable people in legal jurisprudence in The Gambia. The relationship between the law and society and service of Humanity is very important. We have the first batch of Law students graduating in December and we shall help them to help those who do not have the ability or means to be adequately represented”.

The City University of New York, he noted, is unique in the sense that it was not set up to serve and protect Corporate interest but to help people who need legal representation in pursuit of justice but lack ability to pay for the services of a Lawyer.

“Next year we hope to have Legal Clinics with the help of our partners from CUNY where some advanced students will be mentored to help clients” he said, adding that they should not see graduation from Law School and getting a good job as the end of Law but also give back to the Community which has given them so much in many ways.

He maintained that the University of The Gambia has discussed plans with CUNY to have some Gambian Law students go to the University to pursue LLM and PHD degrees. The idea, he continued, is to employ them as lecturers in the University upon completion of studies so as to boost the human resources capacity of the Country's highest institution of learning.

The Director of the City University of New York Community Legal Resource Network, Fred Rooney, revealed that New York is a city of migrants from different parts of the world, who invariably need access to justice but are sometimes shut out and discriminated against owing to lack of money to pay legal fees.

“Most Americans have no access to civil Justice. We are well known for guarantee of Justice and fairness in our Constituion put in place by the founders. We still struggle to meet those ideals and standards” he conceded.

Corporations, according to him, need lawyers absolutely as well as people and added that Lawyers should use their talents and ability to change the world in a positive way.

“I always thought that I could change the world when I was much younger. Now I know you can only change one life at a time. We have been using our facilities to train young lawyers to get into the trenches in New York and help poor migrants from Africa and South America. We want them to use the blessings of their life to give help to those who need it”.

Mr Rooney further enunciated that he was inspired by the energy and ambition of University of The Gambia Authorities and students to have a Law School and commencing a clinical programme in conjunction with City University of New York Law School, which has one of the top ten Clinical Programmes in the United States.

Closing, he expressed thanks to the Gambian people for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded them since their arrival in the country, promising that the visit would not be the last of its kind.

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