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General News of Sunday, 29 September 2019

Source: 3 News

Law students to petition Akufo-Addo over ‘restricted admission’

Students of the Ghana School of Law and their peers from the various law faculties in the country have initiated a fresh campaign to push authorities to open up Ghana’s legal education, which many are struggling to easily access.

On the back of the mass failure in the Ghana School of Law entrance exams that saw only 128 of the total 1,820 candidates pass, many critics have chastised the General Legal Council of a deliberate ploy to deny students with LLB degrees the opportunity to do the professional course.

A statement issued by the executive council of the Ghana School of Law SRC said they have resolved to demonstrate on October 7 to push for the General Legal Council to open up legal education in Ghana.

It said the SRC has teamed up with the immediate Past Presidents of law students’ associations of some law faculties and other student leaders to form the National Association of Law Students.

The statement said the “SRC is working on a petition to outline our demands” and present same to the president, Nana Akufo-Addo as part of the October 7 demonstration.

“While we prepare to demonstrate, we are all encouraged to post on all social media platforms about our plight using the hashtags #OpenUpLegalEducation and #RedMonday,” the statement urged the students and supporters of their course.

93% failure

Over 90 per cent of students who sat for this year’s Ghana School of Law entrance examination failed to make the cut for admission.

Results showed that of the 1,820 candidates who sat for the entrance exams, only 128, representing 7 per cent passed.

The mass failure comes on the back of a similar failure in the Ghana Bar exams few months ago. More than 90 per cent of the 727 students who wrote that exams failed, sparking agitation amongst the students.

The affected persons marched to parliament where they presented a petition to have the General Legal Council address what they termed as a “systemic problem” at the School of Law.

Key among their concerns were the mass failure, the fees charged for resit and remarking, as well as the policy of rewriting all papers if a student fails more than 3 papers.

The difficulty in getting admission into the Ghana School of Law for the professional course to become a lawyer has provoked questions on the accessibility of legal education in Ghana.

The public has even become more concerned following recent comments by the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, which seemed to suggest that there is a deliberate attempt to limit the production of lawyers in the country.

No way for mass production of lawyers – CJ

Addressing the Bench, Bar and Faculty Conference at the Labadi Beach Hotel on the theme “The Changing Landscape in the Law – the Judge, the Lawyer and the Academic”, the Chief Justice said any attempt to allow the production of lawyers without efficient control, checks and balances will be rejected irrespective of who is advocating for it.

“Those of us who have been too long on the General Legal Council, those of us who spent too long on the disciplinary committee, we have cause to worry because the kinds of misconduct are such that there is no way anybody envisaged these categories of misconduct when the Legal Profession Act was being enacted in the 1960s”, she said.

“Those of you lawyers and those of you lecturers who are busy advocating free scale, mass admissions into the professional law course, and mass production of lawyers, be careful what you wish for”, she added.

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