General News of Tuesday, 18 June 2019
A US-based Ghanaian legal practitioner, Professor Kwaku Asare, popularly known as Prof. Azar is calling for the scrapping of the Ghana School of Law.
According to him, the services provided by the Ghana School of Law could better be handled by the various law faculties in tertiary institutions in the country.
He believes that the Ghana School of Law where graduates from various university law faculties are expected to take a year’s programme before writing the bar exams to become lawyers is not relevant to the production of quality lawyers in Ghana.
Speaking on Citi TV’s The Point of View on Monday, Kweku Azar who is also a lecturer argued that university lecturers are trained to teach and are better placed to prepare students to become lawyers.
“They need to close down the school of law. They need to outsource education to people who are trained to educate. That is university professors. Take all your legal education at the universities because that is what the universities do. They have a comparative advantage over the Ghana School of Law in training people to think like lawyers. There should be no Ghana School of Law. You go through the University of Ghana, Cape Coast or wherever and you do your LLB. The courses that you take, the regulator will indicate what courses you should take and when you are done, we will examine you to figure out whether you are competent in the law,” he said.
In his proposal in addressing the challenges with legal education in the country, he reiterated the need for the General Legal Council to be scrapped.
The General Legal Council is in charge of the management of the Ghana School of Law.
“The problem is that we have regulators that are failing to respond to a changed market phase and are holding on to old ideas that are no longer workable in the 21st century. The body [GLC) itself is outmoded. You are in 2019 but you are using a 1959 vehicle on the highway and it is causing a lot of problems,” Prof. Azar said on the show.
His comments are premised on the consistent high failure rates in the bar examination as well as other challenges regarding entrance into the Ghana School of Law after graduation from a law faculty.
Only 9 percent of the students are said to have passed the 2018 bar exam.
This was worse than the 2017 results in which more than 80% of students failed, as only 91 out of the over 500 candidates passed.
Almost 300 students had to repeat the entire course, while 170 students were referred.
At the time, many of the students blamed the Independent Examination Board for the mass failure whilst others blamed the existing curriculum.
This situation has left lecturers, including Justices of the Supreme and Appeals Courts, together with some seasoned lawyers livid over what has been described as the worst Bar exam results recorded in the history of the school.
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo is of the view that there is no deliberate plan to limit the number of qualified lawyers in the country and is entrusting the Ghana Legal Council to deal with the problem.
The General Legal Council subsequently constituted a Committee to probe mass exams failure at the Ghana School of Law.
There have also been some lawsuits aimed at reforming legal education in Ghana.
Student front divided as School of Law exams takes off despite injunction
The General Legal Counsel on Monday organised exams for repeat students of the Ghana School of Law despite an interlocutory injunction application filed by some of the students.
Citi News‘ Marie-Franz Fordjoer reported that the student front was divided over the issue.
She said while some of the repeat students wrote the exams others refused to partake in it citing the case in court slated for Tuesday, June 17, 2019.
Students who had failed the recent Bar exam and needed to resit appeared in the Human Rights Division of the High Court on Friday to seek an extension of time to enable them adequately prepare and re-take the exam.
The plaintiffs, through lawyer Akoto Ampaw last Friday complained in court that, they were given only three days notice to register and take their examinations five days thereafter.
The plaintiffs insisted that the schedule was unreasonable and violated their fundamental human rights.