General News of Friday, 2 March 2018
Fierce debate is expected to begin today on a new Legislative Instrument (L.I. 2355) on Legal Profession Regulations, 2018 which will compel prospective law students entering the Ghana Law School to write entrance examination as Members of Parliament remain sharply divided over the new L.I.
The Subsidiary Legislative Committee of Parliament chaired by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga after okaying the proposal by the General Legal Council to incorporate entrance examination into the entry requirement of the Ghana Law School laid its report yesterday in parliament. The debate will start today to determine the approval or rejection of the proposal.
The General Legal Council in 2015 introduced an entrance examination and interview process as part of the requirement for admission into the Ghana Law School since in its opinion, the number of students seeking admission into the Ghana Law School with Bachelor of Law degree (LLB) far outstrips the vacancies in the three campuses of the Ghana Law School. However, a U.S based Ghanaian Professor of Law, Prof Stephen Kwaku Asare challenged the constitutionality of the additional entry requirement because, according to him, it is not captured in LI 1296 guiding admission into Ghana’s Law School.
Supreme Court subsequently upheld the plaintiff’s contention that the entrance examinations and the interview process were unconstitutional and must, therefore, be scrapped.
The General Legal Council, therefore, drafted a new LI incorporating the entrance examination into it as an entry requirement for parliament to ratify but the new LI has met serious opposition both from prospective students and continuing students of the Ghana Law School with some Members of Parliament including the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka also opposing to the new LI.
Speaking to journalists in parliament before today’s debate, the Minority Chief Whip who is also the NDC MP for Asawase said he has been able to convince a lot of MPs to vote overwhelmingly against the new LI because it would not serve the interest of many disadvantaged Ghanaians who successfully obtain their first degree in law and want to be trained as professional lawyers by going to the Ghana Law School.
He said if the new LI is passed by parliament, the vulnerable in the society would become more vulnerable adding ‘we are here to represent our constituents and the message on the ground is that the new LI will not help a lot of Ghanaians who want to become lawyers to gain admission into the Ghana Law School’.
He expressed the optimism that majority of the MPs would listen to the concerns of their constituents and vote massively against the new LI when it comes to its ratification.