General News of Monday, 3 July 2017
Concerned law graduates from the various faculties across the country have petitioned Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, asking her to implore the General Legal Council (GLC) to ensure that all law graduates or LLB holders desiring to further their studies are given ‘automatic’ admission into the Ghana School of Law.
Their request comes on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling on Thursday, June 22, 2017, which declared the requirement by the GLC for the Ghana School of Law to conduct entrance examinations and interviews before admitting students, as illegal and unconstitutional.
“…That in view of the uncertainty surrounding the decision of the Supreme Court as far as we are concerned, we pray that the Council grant us automatic admission to the Ghana School of Law as all of us qualify for admission by virtue of the decision of the Supreme Court in the matter under reference,” they said in the petition.
A seven-member panel of the apex court headed by Justice Jones Dotse reached an unanimous decision in an application brought before the court by US-based Ghanaian law lecturer, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare.
It would be recalled that on October 15, 2015, Prof Asare filed a suit against the GLC and set four issues for the court to determine. It included whether the General Legal Council’s imposition of new admission requirements for the professional course violates Articles 11(7), 297(d), 23, and 18(2) of the 1992 Constitution; whether Regulation 3(b) of LI 1296 is void-for-vagueness and is therefore facially unconstitutional and whether the General Legal Council unconstitutionally applied it to disqualify eligible students who had qualified for admission to pursue the Professional Law Course.
But in the ruling, the panel said the basic requirements stipulated by the law that regulates the establishment of the law school LI 1296, requires that an applicant to the school should have passed specific seven subjects during the LLB programme, be of good behaviour and hold an LLB degree to be admitted into the Ghana School of Law.
The writing of an entrance examination and passing an interview are not part of the requirements in the LI 1296, compelling the Supreme Court to order the GLC to take steps within the next six months to implement the orders of the court.
It also declared that the ruling did not take retrospective effect.
The GLC was also ordered by the panel to introduce a quota system for the admission of students by accredited law school faculties to present the huge numbers of LLB holders who get turned out from the faculties.
No Room For Illegality
Petitioning the CJ through the media on Friday in Accra, the concerned students said the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows the GLC six months within which to implement the court’s order, was a classic case of granting an institution the opportunity to perpetrate illegality, even though it had been established that the admission of students on the basis of the examinations and interviews was illegal.
Reading out the petition, Naomi Nana Sam, one of the aggrieved LLB graduates, explained that all LLB holders nationwide were qualified for admission into the Ghana School of Law by virtue of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare Vs. Attorney-General and the GLC.
That, she said, was because “…since the Supreme Court itself has declared the examinations to be illegal and unconstitutional, we cannot be asked to participate in an illegality.”
She added, “As law graduates, we have been taught that once an act is declared illegal or unconstitutional, it is so ab initio and no action can be founded on an illegality.
“That we concede that as far as those of us who are about to sit for the examination are concerned, it is a consequential order that we write the examination on 14th July, 2017.”