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General News of Wednesday, 20 April 2016


Prosecute lawyers with expired license – Supreme Court

A seven-member Supreme Court Panel chaired by Justice William Atuguba has in a majority decision ruled that all lawyers who fail to renew their solicitor’s licence would be disbarred and prosecuted.

Most lawyers fail to renew their licence after its expiration but continue to work and practice in the law courts.

However, in a 4-3 ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court declared that hence forth, all lawyers who do not renew their solicitors licence on annual bases will not be recognized as lawyers.

The ruling also added that any lawyer who goes ahead to file a writ with an expired licence will be criminally prosecuted and disbarred by the General Legal Council.

The case came about after one lawyer Justin Pwavra Teriwajah had filed a writ on behalf of his client, Henry Nuertey Korboe against one Francis Amosa in the Fast Track High Court.

Francis Amosa engaged Miss Nancy Dakwa Ampofo to defend her in the High Court against the said suit.

During the course of the case at the High Court, Miss Nancy Dakwa Ampofo applied to the High Court to have the case dismissed on the grounds that as at the date lawyer Pwavra Teriwajah filed the writ for his client, his solicitor’s license had expired and he had not renewed it.

Her Ladyship, Avril Lovelace-Johnson, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting as an additional High Court Judge on the case upheld the submissions of Miss Ampofo and dismissed the case.

Mr. Teriwajah appealed to the Court of Appeal against the ruling of Justice Lovelace-Johnson and the Court of Appeal Judges were unanimous that their own colleague had erred in dismissing the case on the basis of the expired solicitor’s license.

The Court of Appeal, therefore, made an order for the reinstatement of the suit at the High Court for the suit to take its normal course and the cost which Justice Avril Lavelace Johnson had imposed on lawyer Justin Pwavra Teriwajah was also vacated by the Court of Appeal.