President John Evans Atta Mills on Monday promised that Government would make every effort to complete the new Faculty of Law Building at the University of Ghana, Legon, started 10 years ago, and equip it with cutting-edge gadgets.
“I’m certainly not happy that this building is uncompleted,” President Mills said, as he delivered a speech as Guest of Honour, at the forecourt of the edifice at a grand durbar to climax the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana (UG), Legon.
President Mills taught Law for more than 25 years at the Faculty and had participated in the sod-cutting ceremony for the commencement of work on the building in 1999, when he was Vice-President of Ghana. He committed the then Government to contribute materials and substantial amount of seed money to the project.
President Mills said he was honoured to have been associated for years with the Faculty, and the building project, considered important at the time it was initiated, was still considered to be important by the current Government.
The celebration is on the theme: “Faculty of Law (UG) @50: Contribution to Education, Governance, and Socio-Economic Development.
The President paid glowing tribute to the lecturers and staff of the Faculty who had continued to toil to maintain the high standards the Faculty set for itself from its beginnings in the face of the daunting challenges.
“Even in the face of daunting challenges such as inadequate financial and material resources, increasing student numbers and accommodation and temporary structures among other constraints, the Faculty has never compromised on quality education and the maintenance of high standards,” President Mills said.
He said a fully furnished and equipped new Law Faculty Building would add more impetus to the already excellent work of the Faculty, open new doors to greater achievements, provide more relevant courses, utilize innovative learning such as experiential learning and clinical legal education and expand its intellectual and knowledge-based resources.
President Mills said the MasterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Programme in Oil and Gas Law by the Faculty, which would soon begin, was a strategic initiative to build capacity in view of the growing demand for oil and gas matters.
“Of course, with our oil discovery, local expertise in drafting appropriate legislation and contract documents should go a long way to inure to the benefit of the nation.”
President Mills commended the convening of a Law Teachers’ Conference which was part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Faculty, which, he said, would incorporate the Law Teachers Conference as a Company limited by guarantee.
He said guaranteeing quality legal education in Ghana was a critical issue of concern to his Government.
“We need to train legal professionals in government, in parliament, in the courts, in various institutions and companies and in private legal practice,” President Mills said.
He gave an assurance that Government would support any positive and well thought-out initiative by institutions other than the University of Ghana in the effort to impart legal education.
The President, however, said immediate short term, medium term and long term solutions were needed urgently to address issues that limited the ability of the Ghana School of Law to admit all Bachelor of Laws graduates.
There was also the need to put in place medium and long-term arrangements, including the expansion of the Ghana School of Law facilities, the President added.
President Mills said Government was working with the General Legal Council, the Board of Legal Education, Law Teachers’ Conference and other relevant stakeholders to tackle and address the matters on the expansion of facilities to guarantee more access to quality legal education in Ghana.
He called on all stakeholders in the Faculty to support it by assisting to complete the new Law Building, donating books and computers and participate in Faculty events and support for the clinical education programmes that the Faculty intended to initiate.
“Let us all support the Faculty to remain true to its core of Scholarship, Innovation and Leadership and to attain its vision of remaining internationally recognized as a leader in African legal training and scholarship.”
The Faculty honoured President Mills, and 21 others, including former Deans and other workers, for their meritorious and distinguished long service to the Faculty.