Teaching Law in Mekelle University was begun by enrolling Law diploma students in the continuing education program. Then in 26 October 2001 it was formally inaugurated as Law Faculty and started admitting regular degree students, making it the second Law School in the country next to Addis Ababa University.
Since its establishment the Faculty has been zealously working to make itself and the University Center of excellence by undertaking different research and community services. It has accordingly established, for the first time in the country, Legal Aid Center(LAC) and Human Rights Center(HRC), Environment and Natural Resource Law Center that are vividly supporting the teaching, research and the community service objectives of the School.
The Mekelle University School of Law (formerly known as Faculty of Law, Department of Law) was established in 2001G.C. The then Faculty of Law was founded and established through the relentless effort and courage of Mr. Wray Witten, an American professor, and the first Dean of the Faculty. The Faculty that started with 27 students undergraduate students and five academic staffs, now with more than 710 students and 34 academic staffs.
Goals, objectives, guiding principles, strategies
- To meet the needs of the society for people with legal skills to serve the public and strengthen the rule of law;
To contribute towards the improvement of the legal system and all undertakings that are affected by the law through research, consultation and community service.
To produce qualified law graduates who are ready and able to perform at the highest possible professional and ethical standards of the profession;
To provide appropriate options of legal training to local communities through distance and continuing education;
To undertake research concerning the role of law in development and peace building and the use, efficiency and effectiveness of the legal system;
To contribute to the improvement of the legal practice and the attainment of justice through constructive and practical consultation and functional interaction with courts, public and private practitioners, and the public.
Despite the recent institutional changes that the Department has undergone through, it has managed to retain its guiding principles intact. Most of the guiding principles of the then Faculty of Law have proved themselves indispensable in the present institutional reorganization. Accordingly, Mekelle University Department of Law endeavors to achieve its goals in light of the following principles:
- Our work should be informed by a fundamental concern for the Constitution and its broad protection of human rights, and we should seek ways to interact with society to broaden the effect of this concern;
Every course, research and consultancy should be continuously rethought and rebuilt for improved education;
Practically oriented initial education, continuing education and cooperation with practitioners should be provided in order to produce graduates ready and able to do their jobs and practice in a Constitutional, effective and efficient way.
Translating this into educational perspective, the goals, objectives and principles are streamlined through mainly the following set of practical strategies:
To provide a practical oriented program of study which will equip students with the knowledge and expertise that will mold them as competent and qualified graduates;
To create and tailor opportunities for people already working in the legal profession to obtain further legal education to the LLB level and eventually at post graduate levels;
To instill within the minds of the students through ongoing constructive interactions between the Department and the society in schools, public forums, courts and service to the unfortunate, a keen interest in the social, economic and political environment in which law can play as an instrument of social change and the role legal professionals play in that process.
Mekelle School of Law (MSL) has for far managed successful relations with the University of Warwick, Tilburg University, NORAD, Amsterdam School of Law, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Prison Fellowship Ethiopia, Action Aid Ethiopia, OSSA, Open Society Foundation, Tigray Revenue Development Authority, Afar Justice Bureau, FDRE Ministry of Defense, Tigray police commission, Agazi Justice Organs Professionals Training Center.
The School of Law, formerly a Faculty of Law, was structured as, Department of Law structured under the College of Law and Governance of Mekelle University. Following the proposal for upgrading the Department to School, the Mekelle University Management has officially recognized the Department as a School. Following the change, the School is working on its structure to fully run as School. The day-to-day activities of the School are supervised by the Head of the School and other offices established under the School.