General News of Friday, 1 December 2017
There is growing resentment in the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament against portions of the draft legal professions regulations that is currently being considered by the committee before being laid.
The proposed LI in question, among other things, states that the General Legal Council (GLC) will conduct an entrance exam for the admission of students to the school, and conduct interviews for all applicants who pass the Ghana School of Law Entrance Examination.
A Member of Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee and MP for Daboya-Mankarigu, Mahama Shaibu, told Citi News’ Duke Opoku Mensah that members of the committee are waiting for clarification of issues that are irregular to the parent law.
“When you construct an LI, it hinges on a parent law. That’s what an LI seeks to do, and so you will construct those laws in conformity with the parent laws, and therefore some of the issues that came up had to do with issues outside of that, but some too were within the parameter of the law,” he explained.
The LI is coming into force following a Supreme Court ruling that declared as unconstitutional, the requirement by the GLC asking applicants to the Ghana Law school to undertake an examination and subsequent interview before admission.
It appears the Council is only seeking to legalize the process, by getting the LI to back it.
Protest from students
But a group calling itself the Concerned Law Students, have already submitted a petition to the committee against the new LI, describing it as a deliberate attempt by the GLC to frustrate them, and a violation of their rights.
Ken Addor Donkor, the leader of the group, said the proposed LI was an attempt to kill the dreams of law students.
Exams, interviews barred for Law School
When the Supreme Court declared the interviews unconstitutional, it said the requirements are 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, when admissions for the 2018 academic year begins.
The plaintiff, Professor Kwaku Asare, a United States-based Ghanaian lawyer, went to court in 2015, challenging the legality of the modes of admission used by the Ghana School of Law.
According to him, the number of people who were admitted into the Ghana School of Law was woefully small considering the number of people who possessed LLB.
The Ghana Law School has been criticized for being overly rigid considering that it serves 12 schools providing LLB degrees.
The current training regime limits the intake into the Ghana Law School to under 500 of the about-2000 LLB graduates annually.
In his suit, Professor Kwaku Asare prayed for a declaration that GLC’s imposition of entrance examination and interview requirements for the Professional Law Course violates Articles ll (7) 297 (d) 23, 296 (a) (b) and 18 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.
LI for law school admissions needless – Prof. Asare
The lawyer, Professor Kwaku Asare, has also waded into the new development, calling on Members of Parliament to reject the proposed LI.
“They should completely annul it… and I am calling on all 275 MPs to stand up with the constituents, to stand up with law students, to stand up with progress, to stand up with objectivity, to stand up with progress, to stand for anti-corruption, to reject the Ghana Legal Council as the Supreme Court rejected them,” he said.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Professor Kwaku Asare described the GLC as a problem, and said it needed restructuring and a new mandate.
“The General Legal Council itself has become a problem and Parliament must step in to restructure the Legal Profession Act 32. I suggest that the Council, in its current form, be dissolved and replaced by a Council of Legal Education,” Professor Asare stated.
This restructured council will be charged with administering the bar examination, he explained.
Aside from this change, the lawyer added that everything else, including the current regulations, can remain as they are.
“I don’t think the General Legal Council learned anything from the Supreme Court battles that we had over the last few years. The existing regulations are sufficient because what the existing regulations seek to do is to have an objective, incorruptible progressive and automatic admission requirement for students.”