Over the last couple of years, jokes about lawyers being dishonest have been passed around in peer groups and casual discourses. But, despite that bout of what you might call 'bad press', it is still nearly impossible not to notice the prestige that comes with being a lawyer, especially if a student graduates from any one of the best law schools in Nigeria and Africa at large.

As such, having seen the royal robes, dignified wigs and the joy of helping others that lawyers feel, it’s only normal if you also want to study to become a legal practitioner.

Sadly, given the very nature of the law degree, you might be tempted to think that you need to attend the most expensive schools across the world to acquire it. The likes of Stanford Law School with their jaw-dropping $64,350 (₦26,576,550)/year easily come to mind.

However, compare this steep price with that of one of Nigeria’s top private universities – Covenant University – which offers the same degree at only ₦950,000/year. There are also several others like the University of Lagos and the University of Ibadan, two national treasures by all means, who offer a law degree at less than $200/year ( NGN 80,000).

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Ahem! Let me scare you a bit. Before choosing which law school to attend or not, do you love reading huge books? Source: Unsplash

The difference in cost is too wide to be ignored. So, the question now is; why go halfway across the planet on an overwhelmingly expensive trip when you could just as easily get a high-quality law degree as a student in an African university right in your backyard? We’re sure you see our point now.

With all that being said, to save you the trouble of having to search for yourself, in this piece, we’ll be giving you much-needed information on the best law schools in Nigeria and Africa.

To make it easier for you to sift through the long list of options of places you can be a law student, we have split this piece into two main sections. In one, we’ll outline the best law schools in Nigeria for budding law students like yourself. In the next, we’ll pick up from where we left off and list out the top law schools in Africa generally. Let’s get right to it.

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The Best Universities for Law in Nigeria

1.   University of Lagos, Yaba, Lagos

Coming in at the very top of our list is the Nigerian University of first-choice and the nation’s pride. Indeed, many people often see Nigerian federal, and public universities generally, in a relatively dimmer light than their private counterparts for reasons best known to each individual. However, the University of Lagos certainly offers one of the best law programmes/courses in Nigeria.

First seeing the light of day in 1962, the Faculty of Law in the University of Lagos is as old as the school itself. Its departments are:

  • Department of Jurisprudence & International Law
  • Department of Public Law
  • Department of Private & Property Law
  • Department Of Commercial & Industrial Law

The university’s tuition fees generally cost a little over ₦50,000 per year for virtually every student, making it incredibly affordable. The Faculty of Law in UNILAG has various high-flying alumni like the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the former head of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice, Bayo Ojo, SAN. These individuals and their admirable achievements lend credence to the quality that the University of Lagos’ law degree offers.

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A picture of the University of Lagos
Consider cost, academic standards, and infrastructural beauty, the University of Lagos is one of the top law schools you will find in Nigeria. Source: Muhammadulfatiu Adepeju

The requirements for getting into the school are quite simple. If you will be going in with your UTME result, you must have a score well over 200, given the competitiveness of admission. Additionally, it is best to make the university your first choice.

2.   Babcock University, Remo, Ogun State

Established in 1959 by the Seventh Day Adventist church, Babcock University is a private institute that has proven time and again to be of excellent repute with almost every student in its care bearing testimony to this. While it certainly doesn’t get quite as many students as its public counterparts, the school is an excellent place to get a law degree.

Babcock University has a School of Law and Security Studies. There, students can get through their university years and learn as much as is required. The exact type of degree offered is an LLB (Hons.) Law. The school’s tuition fees often range between ₦500,000 to ₦1,200,000. This is similar to that of many other private schools within Nigeria. Scholarships and grants, however, aren’t too farfetched.

Its requirements for admission include 5 credits in English, Mathematics, Literature, and any other two social science subjects in O’ Level and above.

3.   Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna

Granted, the South Western part of the country does have quite a bit to offer with its universities taking up the first two positions on our list. However, the Northern side is also worthy of quite a number of admirable mentions. One such mention is the Ahmadu Bello University. It will make the cut as one of the best universities for law in Nigeria.

First seeing the light of day in 1962, this university offers an impeccable law programme through its Faculty of Law in the Kongo Campus, Nigeria. The sheer academic prowess of the school’s legal department is astounding.

For context, they have upwards of 15 professors, 8 senior lecturers, as well as 6 readers with other learned individuals filling the positions of lecturer I, and II, among others. This rich collection of professionals serve as an excellent foundation of knowledge for students who gain entry into the Faculty of Law in the School.

Ahmadu Bello University Faculty of Law has four main departments:

  • Commercial Law
  • Islamic Law
  • Public Law
  • Private Law

The university offers LLB, LLM and PhD courses. The requirements to apply for these undergraduate and postgraduate programmes range from the regular ‘O’ Level credits in applicable subjects to a Second or First Class Honours in a First Degree in law from any recognized university.

Its tuition fees fall between ₦25,000-₦50,000 yearly. Hence, like every other federal university, you needn’t worry about whether or not it is affordable.

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4.   University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State

Outranking every single university in the country where age is concerned, the University of Ibadan is another excellent school that answers the question of where to study law in Nigeria.

What is now known as the Faculty of Law within the school started in 1981 as a department in the Faculty of Social Sciences but later became an independent faculty in 1984. Since then, it has earned its reputation as one of the best with numerous seminars, publications, and alumni to show for it yearly.

The faculty comprises two major departments:

  • Department of Public and International Law
  • Department of Private and Business Law

As you can probably imagine, the tuition fees are usually not much higher than ₦50,000 yearly. Similarly, its requirements are simple with the usual 'O' Level credits in five subjects for UTME entrants.

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Other Top Law Schools in Africa

5.   Stellenbosch University, Western Cape, South Africa

With its year of establishment dating as far back as the 19th century, Stellenbosch University has quite the history to it. But, beyond its rich and thick history books, it also happens to offer one of the best law schools in Africa. It won't be far from the truth to say that it is one of the best law schools in Africa law league tables.

Its latest QS ranking is 439 with a total score of 25.4. This institution provides students with undergraduate BAccLB, BA (LAW), LLB, and B.com(LAW). It also has a rich collection of postgraduate courses/programmes including a 3-year LLB course, a Tax Law and an Intellectual Property Law postgraduate diploma.

With regards to language, this isn’t much of a problem. It is a naturally multilingual institution with Afrikaans, Xhosa and English being the most widely spoken. Its tuition fees range between R40,000 to R70,000 depending on which course/programme you’re signing up for.

6.   The University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

This is arguably one of the largest and best universities in Kenya. The school’s law programme is split into the Public, Private, and Commercial departments.

It offers a Bachelor of Law (LLB), Master of Law (LLM), and Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD). These courses last four, two, and three years respectively. The pricing is a little bit more specific than most at about KShs12,580/course unit.

Once again, the language barrier wouldn’t be much of a problem in this university as the English language is widely spoken and understood.

7.   The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Situated in the heart of Egypt, this university has been in existence since the early 1900s. With that many years of experience as well as an impressive QS ranking of 411, it is hard to deny its potential.

The American University in Cairo offers a broad range of law programmes. Examples include:

  • Diploma in International and Comparative Law
  • Master of Law in Comparative and International Law
  • Diploma in International Human Rights Law
  • Master of Rights in International Human Rights Law

The cost of tuition rests around $735/credit hour for international students. It is worthy of note, however, that the national language isn’t English. While provisions are made for English speaking international students, a good grasp of the native tongue would be helpful.

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Now that you have several options of where to study law in Nigeria and Africa, can you get your backpack ready? Source: Unsplash

Honourable Mentions

Beyond the aforementioned, below are a list of universities in Nigeria and Africa that offer excellent law programmes:

  1. University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nsukka, Enugu State
  2. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  3. The University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State
  4. University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  5. The University of Benin, Benin, Edo State
  6. University of Dar Es Salaam, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
  7. University of Jos, Jos, Plateau State
  8. University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
  9. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State
  10. The University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

No doubts, there are several universities across the world where you can study as a law student and excel in your courses. However, alongside the quality, cost and convenience are two important factors you must consider. The universities on our list won’t necessarily take you halfway across the world. But, they’ll certainly make every minute of your study count without breaking the bank. And, yes, with their law certificates, you can travel the world and be confident to call yourself a qualified legal professional.

 

 

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Muhammad

A Nigerian freelance SEO Writer-cum-Editor and 2019 Writing Fellow of ALWF who blends creativity with rich content to produce sterling copy — persuasive, informative, or expository. He loves nature and trains in Karate, and he loves to help others grow — individuals and brands.