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General News of Tuesday, 10 July 2018


Law school exams saga resurfaces

United States of America (USA)-based Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare says his motion to stop the General Legal Council (GLC) from conducting another entrance examination for admission into Ghana School of Law is being deliberately frustrated.

According to him, even though injunction motions must be heard in 14 days or less, his motion filed on June 11, 2018 to stop the law school examination is yet to be heard.

“Whether or not the General Legal Council can hold entrance examinations on July 27, 2018 is an urgent question that a proper panel of the Supreme Court has been asked to answer since June 11,” he added.

He is worried that while the examinations are scheduled for Friday, July 27, 2018, the Supreme Court registrar has fixed Saturday, July 29, 2018 for the hearing of the motion, which is two clear days after the examinations.

Asare holds the view that this appears to be a deliberate ploy to frustrate the motion and render it moot.

“An injunction is an emergency application. It must be heard immediately as the applicant is asserting that irreparable damage will be done to him if the application is not granted.

“It is extremely strange and exceedingly annoying for the court to suggest a date after the scheduled examination to hear the injunction application,” he added.

Asare stated that the Chief Justice owes it a duty to the country and the constitution to schedule a hearing date in the next five days. “I hold the view that pursuant to the court’s order of June 22, 2017, no such examination can be held, and it will be a high crime if one was held. “It is common knowledge that the court directed that the law on admissions as at December 22, 2017 should govern the admissions to the School of Law in 2018.

“It is also a notorious fact that Legislative Instrument (LI) 1296 was the only law on admissions as at December 22, 2017.

“It matters very little, as a matter of law, that a new LI was put in place in March 2018. It is elementary that laws cannot vary a court order or be applied retroactively,” he added.


In an affidavit in support of his motion for interlocutory relief, he is seeking a declaration that the General Legal Council’s failure to put a mechanism in place to govern the admission of LLB degree holders to the School of Law by December 22, 2017 is a contempt of this court’s order in Asare v Attorney-General and General Legal Council.

Reaffirmation of LI 1296

He also wants the Supreme Court to declare that as of December 22, 2017, LI 1296 is the law governing admission to the School of Law in 2018 pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order in Asare v Attorney-General and General Legal Council.

Stop entrance examination

Asare is also seeking an order restraining the General Legal Council, whether by itself, its agents, assigns, privies, servants and whomsoever of whatever description, from conducting an entrance examination or any other screening exercise, however described, that is alien to Regulation 2 of LI 1296 for admitting LLB degree holders to the Professional Law Course.

Admission of qualified LLB degree holders

He is asking the Supreme Court for an order directing the General Legal Council to admit all qualified LLB degree holders before the passage of LI 2235 to the School of Law or alternative places of instruction in 2018 as the application of this LI would have been done retrospectively.


Asare wants costs for court expenses and counsel fees imposed on defendants. This is necessary as he believes the General Legal Council has acted contemptuously.

“The Supreme Court must assert itself as was done in Kenya recently when an illegal entrance examination was stopped two days before the scheduled examination.

“Our court spared the GLC this ordeal in June 2017, which appears to have now emboldened it to ignore the court’s order,” he added.

In June 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for the General Legal Council to make it mandatory for LLB holders to write entry examinations, as well as pass an interview, before they are admitted to pursue their professional careers in law.

A seven-member panel of the apex court, headed by Justice Jones Dotse, said the basic requirements stipulated by the law that regulates the establishment of the law school, LI 1296, requires that an applicant to the school should have passed seven specific subjects during the LLB programme, be of good behaviour and hold an LLB degree to be admitted into the Ghana School of Law.

The writing of an entry exams and passing an interview are not part of the requirements in the LI 1296.

The Supreme Court panel also ordered that the General Legal Council should take steps within the next six months to implement the orders of the court. It also declared that the judgement of the court does not take retrospective effect, but rather takes a prospective effect.

81% failure in 2017 entrance exams

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the GLC still organised entrance examinations last year, in which a total of 206 law students are to repeat the entire course after failing the final Bar exams at the Ghana School of Law.

Another 177 students were also referred in one or two papers, representing 81% failure for 2017.

Out of 474 students who sat for the 2017-2018 final exams, only 91 students, representing 19%, were deemed to have passed and will be called to the Bar.