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General News of Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Source: Class FM

Review touting law - Ayine urges CJ

A former Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Dr Dominic Ayine, has appealed to the new Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, to change her position on the law barring lawyers from advertising.

According to him, the law is outmoded and needs to be expunged from the statutes or be reviewed. He believed that the practice of law was a service and one needed to advertise his or her services to clients.

The Chief Justice, Ms Akuffo, during her vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Friday June 16, had said, among other things, that she viewed it as “distasteful” the practice where lawyers advertised their services on social media.

According to her, touting is frowned upon in the practice and considered unethical.

Her comments followed the three-year ban slapped on human rights lawyer Fancis-Xavier Sosu by the General Legal Council (GLC) for what it described as violation of advertisement rules and for charging excessive legal fees. Mr Sosu was accused of advertising on Facebook.

Ms Akuffo, sharing her opinion on the matter, said: “If you want my view on advertising on social media, personally, I’m a 67-year-old woman, I’ve been at the bar since 1973/74 and I believe that dignity of the bar is important as dignity of the judiciary. And the idea of lawyers touting themselves on social media is personally distasteful to me, but that aside the law is clearly against touting because it is considered an improper conduct on the part of the lawyer. Every profession has its rules.”

But Dr Ayine, speaking to journalists after the Chief Justice was sworn into office by President Akufo-Addo on Monday June 19, said: “The law is way behind the times.

“The practice of law is considered as a service, and in the provision of a service if you don’t market yourself, if you are not able to market yourself within the ethical rules of the profession, then how will people know the services you can provide and what is your level of expertise? So I think that the rule needs to be looked at.”

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