The Norman Manley Law School opened its doors to its first students in September 1973. Like its sibling schools, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago which was also established in 1973, and the Eugene Dupuch Law School – the third law school of the Council of Legal Education established in 1998 – it prepares students for admission to practice in the Commonwealth Caribbean territories.
The school is named after the famed politician and lawyer, the late Hon. Norman Washington Manley Q.C. He was born in Jamaica on July 4, 1893, at Roxborough in Manchester. He attended Beckford and Smith High School and later Jamaica College where he distinguished himself as a scholar and athlete. In 1914 he was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. He interrupted his studies to serve as a soldier in the First World War and was decorated with the military medal for bravery in action.