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General News of Saturday, 1 September 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Lawyer sues Ghana Bar Association over elections

A member of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr Felix S. Y. Ntoso, has sued the association over a fiat from it that only members who have made payment for the 2018 annual Bar Conference would be allowed to vote at the conference.

According to the applicant, the GBA’s notice that only lawyers who had paid conference fees would be permitted to vote to elect national officers was inconsistent with the provisions of its constitution.

He said the GBA constitution describes paid-up members as those who have valid licence to practise and have paid their annual dues to date.

Mr Ntoso argued that should the defendant be allowed to go on with that plan, many members of the GBA would be disenfranchised.

He, accordingly, prayed the High Court to grant an interlocutory injunction to restrain the defendant from going ahead with its September 9, 2018 conference until the final determination of the suit.

Interim injunction

The application for interlocutory injunction will be moved on September 5, 2018.

The applicant argued that he had caused a writ to be issued against the GBA and was seeking a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the GBA’s constitution, every lawyer in good standing was qualified to vote at the 2018 annual Bar Conference and in subsequent ones and that anything contrary to that was null and void and of no effect.

“That, this honourable court is being called upon to injunct the defendant from conducting any election to elect national executives of the association during the 2018 conference in Koforidua, pending the determination by the court as to whether or not the right to vote should be limited to only members who have paid to attend the conference,” he said.

He said the intention of the defendant, if implemented, would disenfranchise him and many other members in good standing from exercising their rights to vote in electing national executives.

He said he and other lawyers would suffer irreparable loss if the court did not stop the defendant from proceeding with the conference until the final determination of the matter.

Substantive suit

The plaintiff, in the substantive suit, is praying the court to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution of the GBA, every lawyer in good standing is qualified to vote at the 2018 annual Bar Conference and subsequent ones and that anything contrary to that is null and void.

Another relief being sought is a declaration that notices from the Secretariat of the GBA that only members in good standing who have paid their conference fees shall be allowed to vote in consistence with the provisions of the constitution of the GBA are null and void.

The applicant is seeking an order directed at the defendant that every lawyer in good standing within the jurisdiction is qualified to vote to elect national executives of the GBA in the 2018 annual Bar Conference and in subsequent conferences.

Case of plaintiff

According to the plaintiff, any member of the association who had paid the annual fees and had a valid licence to practise was a member in good standing.

He said the defendant had the responsibility of organising annual general conferences for its members, in accordance with its constitution.

The plaintiff said the defendant had circulated details of the 2018 Bar Conference to its members, indicating that only members in good standing who had also paid to attend the conference would be allowed to participate in the voting process to elect national executives for the GBA.