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Crime & Punishment of Friday, 15 February 2008

Source: GNA

Arrest falling standards in Law-Chief Justice

Accra, Feb. 15, GNA- Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood on

Friday expressed worry about the fall in standards at the Bar and urged members to commit themselves to any remedial steps that would be taken to arrest the situation. She said, "There is no doubt that any fall in standards at the bar affects not only the performance of the bench but the whole system of administration of justice.

"A strong Bar invariably implies a strong Bench and vice versa and an effective and efficient system of administration of justice". Justice Mrs. Wood said this when she addressed the first in a series of seminars organized by the Ghana School of Law for the 2007/2008 academic year.

She therefore, urged all lawyers and judges, especially Judges of the appellate courts, who worked close to the school to find time to participate in the seminars and to be ready and willing to present papers whenever they were requested by the school to do so. "I also encourage the authorities of the school to provide more opportunities for a closer interaction between the students and Lawyers and Judges," Mrs Wood said.

She urged the students of the school to be aware that under the legal profession, the General Legal Council was responsible for the organization of legal education and the upholding of professional conduct of lawyers admitted

to practice in Ghana as barristers or solicitors or both. "The products of this school are the fountain source from which the Bar and Bench are filled. It is therefore important that the training offered in this school produces lawyers whose performance at the bar would be par excellence," she said.

Mrs. Wood appealed to the students of the law to prepare in advance for their seminars and classes, not by their mere presence at the seminars, but in conducting the necessary research and applying of logical analysis to the resolution of legal matters raised by the seminar questions and topics.

"By so doing you would develop the habit of exhibiting excellence in the preparation and presentation of the cases of your would be clients," She said.

Quoting from one of Justice Sophia Akuffo's concerns relating to pleadings, Justice Wood said, " Many of these amounted more to legal submissions than pleadings. It is not by lengthy words and paragraphs that a bad case can be transmuted into a good one. The only end served by such protracted pleadings is to waste the courts' time and, at times, confuse the issues; it amounts to an abuse of the process of the Courts".

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