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Council on Higher Education LLB qualification review not yet complete
2017-05-16

The reaction from various stakeholders following the ‘Outcomes of the National Review of the LLB Qualification’ by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) on 12 April 2017 requires the CHE to clarify that the national review process has not been completed and is ongoing.

The peer-review process conducted under the auspices of the CHE is based on the LLB Standards Document which was developed in 2014-2015 with input from higher-education institutions and the organised legal profession. Following self-review and site visits by peers, the process is now at the point where commendations and shortcomings have been identified, and the statement of 12 April reflects those findings. All law faculties and schools have been asked to improve their LLB programmes to meet the LLB Standard, and no LLB programme has been de-accredited. All institutions retain the accreditation they had before the Review process began and all institutions are working towards retaining their accreditation and improving their LLB programmes.

The South African Law Deans’ Association (SALDA) has issued a set of responses regarding the LLB programme review. The following questions and answers were published to give more clarity on the questions raised.

1.    What is the effect of a finding of conditional accreditation?
The programme remains accredited.

(“Accreditation refers to a recognition status granted to a programme for a stipulated period of time after an HEQC evaluation indicates that it meets minimum standards of quality.”)

The institution must submit a progress report by 6 October 2017 that indicates how short-term aspects raised in the HEQC reports have been addressed and an improvement plan to indicate how longer-term aspects will be addressed.

2.    What is the effect of a finding of notice of withdrawal of accreditation?
The programme remains accredited.

The institution must submit an improvement plan by 6 October 2017 to indicate how the issues raised in the HEQC report will be addressed, including time frames.

3.    How does the finding of notice of withdrawal affect current students?
Students currently enrolled for the LLB programme at any institution are not affected at all. They will graduate with an accredited qualification.

4.    How does the finding of notice of withdrawal affect new applicants?
The programmes remain accredited and institutions may enrol new students as usual. This also includes students completing BA/BCom (Law) programmes who wish to continue with the LLB programme.

5.    How does the finding of notice of withdrawal affect prior graduates?
Degrees previously conferred are not affected.

6.    What happens when the improvement plans are submitted in October 2017?
The CHE will evaluate the plans when they are submitted, and the programmes remain accredited until a decision is taken whether the improvement plan is sufficient and has been fully given effect to or not. The institutions will have to submit progress reports to the CHE indicating implementation of measures contained in the improvement plan.

Should a decision at some stage be taken that a programme’s accreditation must be withdrawn, a teaching-out plan would be implemented so that all enrolled students would have the opportunity to graduate with an accredited degree.

For more information on the CHE’s pronouncement please contact Moleboheng Moshe-Bereng on MosheBerengMF@ufs.ac.za.

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