General News of Monday, 10 July 2017
The General Legal Council is bent on organizing entrance examination for potential students to the Ghana School of Law, in spite of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the process is unconstitutional.
A group calling itself Concerned LLB Graduates has petitioned the council – which regulates the training and practice of law in the country – to scrap the examination in the wake of the judgement secured by a United States-based law professor, Stephen Kwaku Asare aka Kwaku Azaa, and facilitate automatic admissions into the law school.
The examination has been slated for July 14, 2017, and there is no sign that the concerns raised by the LLB graduates might be considered so that the examination would be scrapped.
The concerned graduates are insisting that the examination would amount to an illegality since the Supreme Court has declared it as unconstitutional.
The council, in its response letter, has reportedly “decided that in line with the terms of the judgement in the above-mentioned case, the law school entrance examination scheduled for Friday, July 14th, would take place as planned,
“Your petition, which includes among other things, a request for automatic admission to the Ghana School of Law, is therefore declined.”
The letter was signed by the Judicial Secretary, who doubles as Secretary of the General Legal Council, Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong.
The Concerned LLB Graduates in their petition, threatened to go to court if their request was turned down.
The Supreme Court on June 22, 2017, declared as unconstitutional the entrance examination and interview before admitting new students into the Ghana School of Law.
The plaintiff, Professor Asare, who filed the suit in 2015, had insisted that the requirements for the writing of an entrance examination were in violation of the Legislative Instrument 1296 which gives direction for the mode of admission.
The justices, in delivering their judgment, also indicated that their order should not take retrospective effect, but should be implemented in six months’ time, when admissions for the 2018 academic year begin.
Prof Asare on Friday, issued a release describing as unconstitutional the attempt by the council to go ahead with the organization of the entrance examination, in spite of the express order of the court.
“My attention has been drawn to another unconstitutional administrative fiat (SCR 92/Vol. 78) issued by the GLC to the effect that it plans to conduct its unconstitutional entrance examination in contempt of the Supreme Court’s clear declaration. Further, and contemptuously, the administrative fiat is copied to the IEB, another body characterized as an alien by the Supreme Court,” Prof Asare noted.
He said, “The court’s declaration is clear that the entrance examination is unconstitutional; that students are automatically qualified for admission; and, that the entrance examination, and its associated interviews, cannot be used to exclude any qualified student from admission.”
The law Prof said, “The Council seems to misunderstand, or perhaps seeks to distort, the court’s consequential order on the 2017 admission arrangements and is misappropriating it as a licence to administer the undoubtedly unconstitutional examination. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
He reproduced the court’s ‘consequential order’ and said, “This order simply means the Council should continue with ongoing admission arrangements, bearing in mind that students are already qualified and hence need not be subject to any entrance examinations, interviews or other screening devices, as articulated by the Court in its unequivocal declarations.
“It goes without saying that it can never be in the public interest for the Court to order anyone to violate the Constitution. As such, the public interest here relates to the admission arrangements sans the unconstitutional transactions.”
Prof. Asare said, “It boggles the mind that the regulator of the legal profession in the country will seek to put an interpretation on the Court’s consequential order that essentially sinks its declarations into atrophy. It is elementary knowledge that consequential orders are ancillary to declarations and cannot undermine or otherwise contradict them.
“The interpretation, if taken seriously, puts the Court in a comical situation of declaring that the Council is engaged in unconstitutionality while ordering the Council to persist in its constitutional sinful way. No court will engage in such approbation and reprobation and the Council’s attempt to paint the Court’s order in that light must fail.”