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General News of Thursday, 15 February 2018


Parliamentary committee pushes for legal education reforms

Mahama Ayariga, Bawku Central MP play videoMahama Ayariga, Bawku Central MP

The Joint Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Subsidiary Legislation of Parliament has given a strong indication of their desire to push for reforms in the legal education system in the country.

The Committee co-Chaired by Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga and Offinso South MP, Ben Abdallah noted that the current system is fraught with challenges that ought to be addressed immediately to improve the situation of legal education.

They were concerned about the impact of these challenges on the standard of legal education in the country and vowed to do their best to ensure that pragmatic solutions are introduced.

Addressing members of General Legal Council, representatives from the Attorney General’s Department and law students at a meeting held as part of ongoing process to listen to a petition from the Association of Law Students of Ghana which bothers on the Legal Profession (Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulations, 2017, Mahama Ayariga disclosed that the committee had identified some issues they would want to tackle with the input of all stakeholders.

“We all agreed that Ghana has reached that critical point where we need to carry out far reaching reforms in the system of legal education but as you can see in the law it is the GLC that is vested with the authority and the power to determine the design of the system of legal education in Ghana” he stated.

The legislator contended that as a committee, they arrived at a position that “It is in the law and unless somebody goes to the Supreme Court and is able to set aside the act itself as being unconstitutional, if you come to us acting pursuant we have to listen to you but we disagreed on interview process as a committee and our main grounds for disagreeing with the interview process was that it was too subjective and it was very open to abuse, so we should restrict ourselves rather to the examination process which is what the law says.”

The Association of Law Students on January 29, 2018 petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo to cause the withdrawal of the controversial Legal Profession Regulations 2017 from Parliament.

The Association wants the President to impress on Members of Parliament to vote against the regulation.

Subsequently, they petitioned the speaker on the same issue insisting that the LI in its current form was in contravention of the Supreme Court’s ruling and the position of the constitution.

The General Legal Council laid the Regulations in Parliament in mid-December 2017, in response to a Supreme Court order for a clear admission procedure into the Ghana School of Law, and call to the Ghana Bar.

The proposed LI in question, among other things, states that the General Legal Council will conduct an entrance exam for the admission of students to the school, and conduct interviews for all applicants who pass the Ghana School of Law Entrance Examination.

The General Legal Council has cautioned that failure to pass the LI into law within a reasonable period may leave them handicapped and unable to admit students into the Ghana Law School in 2018.

“We have been asked by the Supreme Court to ensure that we do not admit students under the old system in this for 2018. In other words, we have to put something in place, a proper mechanism, and this proposed LI is intended to achieve just that. Mr Chair perhaps we are losing something with respect, if we are not able to go through this, it may mean that we may not be able to admit in 2018 until we complete this exercise because we cannot admit under the old system, that it why we are pushing for the completion of this exercise so that we can admit for 2018.

"Mr Chair I think the Supreme Court put it very clearly. We have been ordered to put in place the proper mechanisms for admissions that will not infringe upon the provisions of Act 32 and the constitution” he disclosed to members of the Committee, petitioners, reps from the Attorney General’s Department and the General Legal Council present at the meeting” a member of the General Legal Council told the stakeholders at the meeting on Wednesday, February 14 2018.

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