General News of Monday, 5 February 2018
Vice President of policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, has called on the General Legal Council to rework the controversial Legal Profession Regulations, and re-submit same to parliament.
His comment comes on the back of a call by the Attorney General, Gloria Afua Akuffo, for the Legal Profession Regulations to be withdrawn from Parliament and re-laid due to a procedural error.
This, according to the Attorney General, is because some processes governing such regulations were not adhered to, adding that the regulation was not gazetted on time.
“Your directive to the Ghana Publishing Company Limited to gazette the Regulation after the 22nd of December, 2017, does not meet the requirement of article 11(7) (b) of the 1992 Constitution. I kindly advise that the necessary arrangements are made to ensure that the Legal Profession (Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulation, 2017, are re-laid before Parliament in compliance with article 11 (7) of the 1992 constitution,” a letter from the Attorney General to the Parliamentary Committee on Subsidiary Legislation and sighted by citifmonline.com said.
Speaking to Citi News, Kofi Bentil, who is the legal adviser to a group calling itself the Association of Law students who had called on Parliament to annul the regulation, welcomed the Attorney General’s call for the withdrawal of the LI, but urged that before it is re-laid, it should be amended to make legal education in the country more accessible.
“I wish the withdrawal was on substance. Be that as it may, there is a withdrawal. The AG said they should re-lay, what it suggests is that, they might want to go and correct the errors and try and bring it back. If they are going to bring it back, such a controversial L.I. and we are going to have to fight it all over again to have it removed, I think we all go through needless stress when the future is clear that we cannot limit professional law education to only logistical problems of the Ghana School of Law.”
“Best practice everywhere is that, they must expand and allow people who are qualified to take the professional law course. So we hope they do not re-lay it. We actually believe that in the process, there will be some discussions in the back, and I believe reasoning will prevail and that will prevent the relaying of this same L.I. But if it turns out that we cannot agree, the right place to go is the court,” he added.
Withdraw it now – Muntaka
Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, had on last Thursday, also prayed Parliament to withdraw the Legal Profession Regulations currently before Parliament.
According to him, the legislation, which has been in Parliament for over a month now, has not even been seen by some of the Members of Parliament as they have not received any copies.
Muntaka also alleged that, information available to him suggests the regulation had not been gazetted.
Annul regulation now
Prior to that, a group calling itself, the Association of Law students had called on Parliament to annul the regulation.
The Association of Law Students on January 29, 2018, petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo to cause the withdrawal of the controversial Legal Profession Regulations 2017 from Parliament.
The Association wants the President to impress on Members of Parliament to vote against the regulation.
The General Legal Council laid the Regulations in Parliament on December 22, 2017, in response to a Supreme Court order for a clear admission procedure into the Ghana School of Law, and call to the Ghana Bar.
The proposed L.I. in question, among other things, states that the General Legal Council 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.
The LI is expected to become Law this month, February 2018.
But the law students maintain that if the document is passed in its current form, it will restrict access to legal education.