There is the ever lurking danger that students of the noble profession may glide through law faculties and go out to the world unprepared. This may be without any necessary fault of the institutions put in place to churn out lawyers. Seeing that the law school has long distanced itself from its role as an engagement platform, and that the realization that what is provided is in need of being supplemented Satima law club was formed under the auspices of Satima Study Centre with the object of giving students of law a platform for legal engagement and development through talks, mentorship and legal research and writing.
In the second installment of its educational and mentorship talks, the club had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Luis Franceschi who sought to engage participants in a reflection of the concept of law and its making. Prompted by the recently enacted Traffic Act and the reaction that followed thereafter in the domain of Public Transport, the talk centered on the pillars of a just law and law making process.
Dr. Luis Franceschi’s ideas were informed by the classical Aquinas’ concept of law as an ordinance of reason, for the common good, promulgated by the authority. Based on the foregoing tenet, the discussion went ahead to analyze the propriety of the Traffic Laws and mainly on the question of whether the formulation of the statute was informed by reason and whether it resonated with the common good. If reason informed the enactment of the traffic act, then it would have been clear to a reader what the connection was between the breaches of the offences therein sanctioned with the astronomical fines that have been set.
Going further common good doesn’t seem to resonate in the wording of the statute and it may be argued that this is just another edict that is the child of legislative inflation or rather the lawyers disease of wanting to regulate everything and everyone under the sun while forgetting that the law is made for the Public and not the Public for the law. It would seem that the Kenyan legal field is dressed in the garb of legal positivism, of the law as a command, unquestionable and a panacea of all social evils. For instance what was the need for the interference of the state in privately financed schools in the Education Bill? Was it necessary? To what extent? These are questions we should ask ourselves. These laws should aim at regulating outcomes. These types of law should act as a quality check, but they need not go into regulating processes, which are more expensive for the tax payer and may make education manipulable by government agendas or ideologies, thus jeopardizing the democratization of one fundamental aspect of modern society: education as the seedbed of new ideas, freedom and innovation.
On the whole our guest called on us as future lawyers to look at the real problems of the society and not look for quick fix solutions in law making, to seek alternative measures in solving social problems and to recognize the role of the law, as a minimal prescriptive tool and not as an end to itself.