Over 600 students studying law at foreign institutions intend to gather outside the Parliament today, hoping to seek an audience with the Attorney General to convince him to amend the law to allow them to practice.
Law student Tegan Medina made out the case on behalf of the other students on CNC3's Morning Brew Programme today.
Medina said a ruling by High Court judge Vasheist Kokaram to uphold a constitutional motion brought by Grenada-born St Lucian lawyer Dianne Jhamilly Hadeed put hundreds of students under tremendous financial and emotional strain.
In the lawsuit, Hadeed, who resides in Trinidad, was challenging Section 15 (1A) of the Legal Profession Act.
The segment of the legislation which allows T&T citizens who do obtain a post-graduate Legal Education Certificate (LEC) from the Hugh Wooding Law School an avenue to be admitted to practice law.
Citizens, who obtain post-graduate qualifications in the United Kingdom or another Commonwealth jurisdiction and are admitted to practice in those countries qualify under the section after completing a short six-month course at the law school instead of the two-year LEC programme.
"I spoke to one individual yesterday and she said she cried since the judgement came out. She was emotionally affected because she would have paced herself and expended money and put things in place and it's an emotional and financial burden because she is now being told the training she would have put in for the LLB, she can go no further, " Medina told Morning Brew host Hema Ramkissoon.
She said unless Kokaram's judgement is overturned, hundreds of students will see their dreams of becoming attorneys "vaporised."
She said the difficulty students had with the ruling, other than having to endure a further two-year programme at a regional law school before they can be admitted to the bar, is the limited number of spaces available at those schools.
She said in contrast, students who study law the University of the West Indies are automatically admitted to the Hugh Wooding Law school.
"For those students who are external, meaning they don't have a UWI law degree, they would gotten either from the University of London or Oxford or Cambridge, they have effectively would have to write an entrance exam to determine if they could go to the regional law schools. The issue with that is that all UWI students are allowed automatic entry into regional law schools and there is no fixed number for external students so that we have to write an examination in order to be allowed into Hugh Wooding but there sometimes five places, sometimes as much as 50 places but there are no number that is fixed so there is an uncertainty as to whether you will be accepted into the regional law schools and then to be admitted to the bar."
Medina said the students will gather in front of the Parliament hoping to get an audience with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to plead their case.
Reporter: Sharlene Rampersad