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Opinions of Monday, 8 January 2018

Columnist: Noah E. Tetteh

The judgement of the Court must apply

As representatives of the various Law Students' Associations in Law Faculties across the country, we welcome the order of the Supreme Court in Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare v. Attorney General and General Legal Counsel _WRIT NO. J1/1/2016_, dated 22nd JUNE, 2017, that every LL.B holder qualifies, without the requirements of passing entrance examination and interview, to undertake the professional law course.

We fully welcome the decision that in accordance with the provisions of Articles 11(7), 23 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Legal Profession Act (Act 32) and, Regulations 2 and 3(b) of the Professional Law Course Regulations, 1984 (L.I 1296), each LL.B holder qualifies for admission into the professional law course without the need to pass any entrance examination and/or interview.

The Supreme Court's decision, in the public interest, gave the General Legal Council (GLC) six months to introduce a new system for the 2018 admissions to the Ghana School of Law, if the GLC deems it fit to so do instead of using L.I 1296.

The six (6) months’ timeframe started on June 22nd, 2017 and expired on December 22nd, 2017. However, the GLC has not, within the space granted in the judgement of the court, put in place the new system for the 2018 admissions.

In the absence of a new system within the stipulated timeframe, the position of the Supreme Court with respect to the entrance examination and interview MUST apply to admissions in 2018.

No one must undermine the judgment of the court and in the spirit of protecting the integrity and dignity of the Supreme Court, the directives of the court must be obeyed

Even before the use of Article 11(7) of the 1992 Constitution, we wish to remind all and sundry that Article 11(6) must be applied. In that regard, Articles 21(f), 25, and 38 must be followed before giving regard to Article 11(7). The provision of educational facilities in terms of Professional law course is the duty of the GLC and Article 11(7) must not be used to avoid performing the duty of the GLC as provided in Article 38 and in Section 13(2) of Act 32.

With respect to prospective admissions beyond 2018, therefore, we reject any system, including but not limited to entrance examinations, that attempts to deny qualified LL.B holders the opportunity to undertake the Professional law course to become lawyers. The exam and interview were introduced when the number of LLB holders increased whereas the School of Law capacity had not been increased.

We beseech Parliament to therefore ensure that the General Legal Counsel implements a system that affords all qualified LLB holders the opportunity to undertake the Professional law course to become lawyers. Considering the infrastructural constraint at the Ghana Law School, We wish to recommend that the Professional Law Course be decentralized so that the various accredited faculties, which are capable of running the Professional Law Course, shall admit Students for the course. The General Legal Counsel shall subsequently organize the 'call exam' after students have completed the professional course at any of the accredited faculties.

We want to inform the public that we are aware of our rights and will not be passive to watch loosely while it is infringed on.

We have our petition, and the relevant authorities shall soon be served!

Thank you.