Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 March 2021:
Sierra Leone’s Chief Justice who also serves as the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education – Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, yesterday admitted 140 newly qualified lawyers to the Sierra Leone Bar, after successfully passing their Bar final examinations.
Introducing the Chairman, Supreme Court Judge, Justice Alusine Sesay (JSC) told the audience that Justice D.B Edwards is on record to be the first Chief Justice who has decentralised the justice sector, by deploying resident Magistrates and Judges in almost all District headquarter towns.
He said Justice Edwards has also established the first three Divisions of the High Court using Constitutional Instrument No. 4 of 2019 to create the Industrial and Social Security Court, the Anti-Corruption Court, and the Sexual Offences Model Court. He described Justice Edwards as a ‘Development Oriented Leader.’
In his address at the Call to Bar and Certification ceremony, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards congratulated the newly qualified lawyers for their hardwork, commitment and focus in becoming lawyers.
“Today marks an important day in your life, in that you will not only be moving from the student stage to begin to earn for yourself in the legal work but beginning a life-long journey,” the Chief Justice said, adding “the future belongs to you. What you make of it will depend on your attitudes and applications. No requirement is more important than character and hardwork.”
He said over the years the Sierra Leone Law School has signalled its unique importance by turning out no less than 1,127 graduates called to the Bar, with the vast majority turning out to be Barristers and Solicitors.
The Chief Justice said the Sierra Leone Law School started on 23rd February 1990 after the establishment of the Council of Legal Education Act, No. 1 of 1989, with 26 students from three sets of graduates from the Faculty of Law, FBC-Class of 1987, 1988 and 1989.
“I and quite a good number of us present at this ceremony were privileged to be in that 1990 class of pioneers,” he said, stating further that today the school has grown to the point where the Class of 2020 is comprised of 199 students. This year, he continued, the school will be having a class of over 200 students. (Photo: Chief Justice presenting certificates to qualified lawyers).
According to the Chief Justice, the school has produced two Chief Justice, three Attorney General. He said more students are applying now for admission into the Law School with the option of becoming Legal Practitioners.
He said that the Council of Legal Education would be exploring and devising state of the art strategies to make the school more accessible in District headquarter towns and abroad, including the use of video conferencing technology to link students in distant locations.
Commending the Chief Justice, the Guest Speaker, Justice Jon Kamanda said he is impressed with the massive reforms, especially in opening the wider space for justice. He admonished the newly qualified lawyers to be courteous to their clients and always conduct themselves professionally.