Most practicing lawyers in Zambia only manage to pass at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education – ZIALE after re-sitting and taking what is referred to as repeaters examination.

It has been established that only a few law students (mostly under 5%) that enroll at Zambia’s law practice institution qualify and are admitted to the bar through the repeaters examinations which comprises of candidates that attempt to re-sit for the next exams after failing to clear their final exams.

The institution had on June 16th 2020 congratulated 202 students who cleared the 2019 December REPEATERS examinations out of the 731 that sat for the exams indicating a slight increase from the 2018 repeaters examinations where 194 passed out of the 694 that sat for the exams.

Meanwhile, only five out of 355 students who sat for the 2019 final exams passed, representing 1.4 percentage pass rate. The consistent low pass rate at ZIALE has since attracted concerns from various stakeholder and citizens as it has continued to recorded high failure rate.

One of ZIALE’s officers who asked that his name be withheld told the Zambian Business Times – ZBT in an exclusive interview that the institution conducts two sets of graduations in a year with one for repeaters and the other for final sitters.

“The final exams comprise of those that write the exams for the first time and are examined on 10 different courses and clear all at once while the repeaters are those that had written the final exams and had not cleared all the 10 courses then re-sit for the remaining subjects. Under these exams some attempt for the second time, third and even go up to seventh attempt and all these are categorized under the repeaters exams,” said the source.

When asked if certificates indicated whether one graduated under the repeaters or final exams, the ZAILE staffer said certificates do not indicate whether one graduated under the repeaters or final exams as everything is labeled the same.

When asked if ZIALE is considering another campus on the Copperbelt as Law training seem to be concentrated in Lusaka, the source disclosed that the institution has plans to open another campus within Lusaka and has since identified a site where such a campus will be located in the near future.

There has been concerns raised that the monopoly held by ZIALE has denied other ten provinces of Zambia from housing private law practices to five residents equitable access to the justice system and law representation.

According to a report done in Zambia, most lawyers are based in Lusaka with a few on the Copperbelt. Other provinces outside Lusaka and the Copperbelt remain remain largely under served frustrating the decentralization efforts of national development.


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