The Association of Law Students has 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.
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 LI is expected to become Law in February, 2018.
But the law students maintain that if the document is passed in its current form, it will restrict access to legal education.
Speaking to Citi News, the President of the Association, Noah Tetteh, said, “we are asking for students to be allowed to go to the law school, and directly after that, there should be an examination that they will take and if they pass that exam, then those who make it will be called to the Bar as lawyers. We are asking for the intervention of the President. Take away the exams. Take away the interview and allow students to go straight to the law school to be trained as lawyers.”
Noah Tetteh stressed that, the Legal Council should be more focused on improving the quality of legal education and not restricting access.
“The Act which regulates Legal education has been there since the inception of legal education in Ghana. It is not about restricting people’s access to the law school that will churn out quality lawyers in Ghana. It’s about allowing people to go to the law school to improve facilities to improve their education. That is the reason why we petitioned the President.”
Protest from students
A group calling itself the Concerned Law Students had earlier submitted a petition to Parliament against the new LI, describing it as a deliberate attempt by the GLC to frustrate them, something they considered a violation of their rights.
Ken Addor Donkor, the leader of the group, said the proposed LI was an attempt to kill the dreams of law students.
Exams, interviews barred for Law School
When the Supreme Court declared the interviews unconstitutional, it said the requirements are in violation of the Legislative Instrument 1296, which gives direction for the mode of admission.
The Justices in delivering their judgment, also indicated that their order should not take retrospective effect, but should be implemented in six months, when admissions for the 2018 academic year begin.
The plaintiff, Professor Kwaku Asare, a United States-based Ghanaian lawyer, went to court in 2015, challenging the legality of the modes of admission used by the Ghana School of Law.
According to him, the number of people who were admitted into the Ghana School of Law was woefully small considering the number of people who possessed LLB.
The Ghana Law School has been criticized for being overly rigid considering that it serves 12 schools providing LLB degrees.
The current training regime limits the intake into the Ghana Law School to under 500 of the about-2000 LLB graduates annually.
In his suit, Professor Kwaku Asare prayed for a declaration that GLC’s imposition of entrance examination and interview requirements for the Professional Law Course violates Articles ll (7) 297 (d) 23, 296 (a) (b) and 18 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.
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