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Opinions of Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Columnist: Gyamfi, Suzy

Expand the Ghana School of Law

The Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) has recently established a Law Faculty and this brings the public institutions offering programmes in Law to three. The University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology are the other two. This is very welcome news for students who want to offer Law but are often denied the opportunity due to the limited facilities at the University of Ghana and KNUST.

It has, however, compounded the admission problem at the Ghana School of Law (GSL) at Makola. After graduating from the universities, the Law Students must attend the Ghana School of Law before they can practice.

Facilities at the GSL are unfortunately very inadequate and prospective lawyers are denied admission each year due to the limited infrastructure. Last year some Law students from the KNUST and UG threatened legal action against authorities of the GSL because they were unjustifiably denied admission. The General Legal Council explained that it allocates 100 places for University of Ghana students, 80 for KNUST students and 40 for foreign and external degree holders.

Considering the number of Law students who graduate from the universities, the number of students admitted into the Ghana School of Law is woefully inadequate and unacceptable. The General Legal Council must consider expanding facilities there as a matter of urgency. The council should also consider opening another branch of the GSL in either Kumasi or Tamale in order to take care of students in the northern sector of the country.

After over fifty years of its establishment, the Ghana School of Law must be expanded to take care of the increasing number of students who want to pursue law. The General Legal Council must not create the impression that it is intentionally putting up artificial barriers to prevent many people from becoming lawyers.

It is the professionalism and high quality of legal practice that will give the Law profession its prestige and not just the fewness of the numbers who practice Law.

Suzy Gyamfi Ghana Institute of Journalism