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General News of Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

General Legal Council must be abolished – Prof. Kwaku Asare

Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare, Legal Practitioner play videoProf. Stephen Kwaku Asare, Legal Practitioner

US-based Ghanaian scholar, Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare has called for the abolishment of the Ghana Legal Council and the succession of same by the Council of Legal Education and Practice.

According to him, the procedures of the GLC are opaque considering the same have been used since its establishment in 1960.

A change in administration he believes, will go a long way to improve the legal system in the country particularly with the introduction of procedures including public hearings and public voting.

“I’m calling for the abolishment of the GLC which must be succeeded by the Council of Legal Education and practice”.

“The problem I have with the GLC is their procedures. The procedures are opaque, nobody knows what is going on there. They just issue administrative fiat. I’m recommending that the GLC and all the administrative bodies, follow some process that includes issuing an exposure draft, circulating the exposure draft for people to give comments, holding public hearings and publicly voting”, he said.

Prof. Asare is however of the conviction that the newly constituted council should comprise of neutral persons nominated with the exclusion of any Supreme Court member and the Chief Justice.

“This is who I think should be on the council. It will not include the Chief justice or any Supreme Court member but the Supreme Court could nominate people to the council.”

The fellow at CDD, while addressing participants during the “Legal Profession Amendment Bill Discussion”, Wednesday, 17th July 2019 further indicated that the Independence Examination Committee has showed that it lacks credibility with its operations over the years.

According to the professor, the cost for post law is high and as a result of this many are discouraged from entering the law profession.

“I think that the fees that they charge for people who are interested in the post law is too exorbitant. At about 6000 pounds which may be higher, from my theory they are seeking to discourage such persons from entering the profession.” He said.

Chairman for the legal and Parliamentary Committee, Mohammed Ben Abdallah on his part bemoaned the situation where the hands of parliamentarians appear to be tied, particularly because they can advise and take concerns but do not have the capacity to change the character of the bill.

“The current system which we are running since 1960 is outmoded and has to completely be overhauled… We as parliamentarians don’t have the capacity to change the character of the bill so as to change the substance over policy, what we can do is to advise the executive to probably take the bill back, take concerns that have been raised and ensure that concerns are captured in the memorandum” Ben Adala stated.

Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee, a legal practitioner however moved for the liberalization of legal education in the country and avoid unnecessary limitations as this will enable competition within the profession.

“Liberalize legal education, we have institution that are in the business of education…given where we have reached as a country, I don’t see why we want to keep some kind of limitation on education… given where we are now its competition. If people study enough and meet the criteria and they pass the exam as to what happen at the end of the day, the market will decide.”

Legal Practitioners are therefore urging parliament to hasten the passage of the Legal Profession Amendment Bill which has been laid before parliament since last year February.

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