The General Legal Council (GLC) and National Accreditation Board (NAB) have been urged to initiate reforms in the country’s legal education to ensure that the entire professional legal education programme is run by the individual institutions without the Ghana School of Law (GSL).
Professor Kwame Frimpong, founding Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), who made the call at the inauguration of a law faculty in the university, said the reforms had become necessary because the existing education system under the GLC was unsustainable.
He said the current system in which Literally Legum Baccalaureus (LLB) holders from tertiary institutions such as University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology would have to complete an additional programme at the GSL before they could be certified as lawyers was untenable.
According to him, Law Faculties should be restructured to run the whole legal programme while a bar examination should be conducted by GLC to certify those who would pass.
Prof. Frimpong stressed that the existing structure of the law school was restrictive and was not able to admit more LLB holders to study additional programmes at the GSL which qualifies them to practise as lawyers.
He rejected the perception that the law profession would be bereft of quality and become full of half-baked practitioners, if such powers were given to law faculties to offer the entire programme.
He explained that the bar examination to be established would ensure that quality lawyers were certified after they had passed, while the GLC would continue to monitor activities.
Making a reference to the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) qualification examination, Prof. Frimpong said it would not be out of place if lawyers wrote a general qualification examination just as accountants do under the ICAG.
Prof. Joshua Alabi, outgoing Vice Chancellor of UPSA, charged the new law faculty to work towards becoming independent of the Ghana School of Law to certify its own students.
He said UPSA has over the years proved its worth by performing exceptionally in administering professional courses that produce quality human resource for the country.
Prof. Alabi said the university had chalked many successes including becoming the only university that run Masters Programme in Audit and Quality Management.
Dr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, a former Minister of State and the Consulting Director of UPSA Centre for Public Accountability, commended the University for establishing the faculty, but urged them to strengthen it to make it more competitive.
He also urged institutions to strengthen their accountability mechanism to curb corruption.
By Charles Amankwa