Caribbean Law Schools

Written by rachel watkins
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Caribbean Law Schools
Law schools in the West Indies prepare students to practice law in the Caribbean region. (graduation image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

The Caribbean may be synonymous with seashores and tropical vacations. But beyond the beach, some of the region's islands get serious with acclaimed law universities equipping students with the knowledge, education and training that is necessary to practice law in the West Indies.

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Hugh Wooding Law School

Trinidad and Tobago is home to the Hugh Wooding Law School that took its name from one of the area's noted jurists. Located in St. Augustine, the school highlights its establishment in 1973 and its status as one of the three schools operated by the Commonwealth Caribbean's Council of Legal Education. According to the Council of Legal Education, this regional organisation prepares students to practice law in the Commonwealth Caribbean territories by issuing the professional qualification for admission to practice: the Legal Education Certificate. The certificate is awarded through one of two programs. The Hugh Wooding Law School explains that the Two Year Program is a full-time course of study designed for students who have finished a first degree in law, while the Six Month Program is a transitional plan for students who already possess professional legal qualifications from a common law jurisdiction, but who would like to practice in the Caribbean territories covered by the Council.

Norman Manley Law School

The second facility operated by the Council of Legal Education, the Norman Manley Law School in Kingston, Jamaica opened in 1973. Named after a famed Jamaican politician and lawyer, the school also affirms that it prepares students for practicing in the Commonwealth Caribbean territories by offering the two routes of study, the Two Year Program and the Six Month Program.

Eugene Dupuch Law School

The third school under the Council of Legal Education, the Eugene Dupuch Law School, is also the most recently established with its first round of students in 1998. Like its sibling schools, this institution readies students to practice law in the Caribbean territories through the Two Year Program and the Six Month Program. Located in Nassau, The Bahamas, the school boasts graduates hailing from many islands including Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and The Grenadines and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

University of the Netherlands Antilles

The Faculty of Law, formerly the College of Law, at the University of Netherlands Antilles (UNA) in Curacao was established in 1970 and now prepares students for the Master's exam in Antillean law with a full degree course of study. UNA notes that enrolled law students are instructed to be all-around jurists, allowing them to work in many fields after graduation with the ability to solve varied legal questions and problems. Of note, most of the courses at this university are taught in Dutch.

Cayman Islands Law School

Affiliated with the United Kingdom's University of Liverpool, the Cayman Islands Law School (CILS) in George Town was founded in 1982. The school offers both full- and part-time legal programs. A student's first three years of study lead to the Bachelor of Law degree, while the fourth year of study is the postgraduate Professional Practicum Course, notes CILS. A Qualifying Examination is required at the end of this course, followed by 18 months of clerkship, and the completion of both yields the qualification of Attorney at Law of the Cayman Islands.

University of the West Indies

With campuses spanning the Caribbean from Cave Hill, Barbados to Mona, Jamaica, St. Augustine, Trinidad to the Bahamas, the University of the West Indies (UWI) offers flexibility to students desiring to study law. The university highlights its status as a leading centre for the research and teaching of law in the Commonwealth Caribbean, equipping students with a liberal and professional education through both undergraduate and postgraduate legal programs. According to the UWI, the Bachelor of Law degree is a three-year course of study, requiring full-time attendance, and is split into three parts. Part I is offered at all campuses, while Parts II and III are only offered at Cave Hill's Faculty of Law division. Graduate programs include Masters of Laws degrees in specialised areas, such as corporate and commercial law and legislative drafting, among others. Courses leading to these degrees are offered at Cave Hill, Mona and St. Augustine.

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