The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has called for the immediate amendment of the Legal Professional Act, 1960, to make legal education accessible to all Ghanaians.
It said the Act which was implemented 59 years ago, to provide requirements for admission into the Ghana School of Law and training of lawyers, does not befit the current legal education model practiced in advanced countries.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s roundtable discussion on ‘Legal Profession Amendment Bill’ on Tuesday in Accra, CCD-Ghana Development Fellow and Legal Practitioner, Professor Kwaku Asare, proposed a new law that would entrust legal education to the various university faculties.
He said the current system which restricted the number of lawyers at a time, where the country could benefit from a surge in the supply of qualified lawyers was a hindrance to the profession.
“Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that foreign trained lawyers have technical proficiency in Ghana Legal Systems and the Constitution.
However, it is neither necessary for them to spend one year attending classes nor fruitful that they complete a pupillage requirement before they can be admitted to practice in Ghana.
It represents unnecessary barriers whose primary, if not sole purpose, is to discourage lawyers trained in other countries to return to put their skills to use in the country at a time when the country needs more lawyers to offer legal services to their communities,” Professor Asare said.
A Legal Practitioner and board member of CDD-Ghana, Mrs Clara Kasser-Tee, said the admission process into the Ghana School of Law was too cumbersome.
She said Bachelor of Law holders had to pass interviews, write entrance examinations in ten law subject areas and two additional compulsory essays before gaining admission into the Ghana School of Law.
Mrs Kasser-Tee proposed that students who write such examination should be notified on the subjects areas since most of these subjects were broad for them to memorise.
She said the General Legal Council should focus more on curriculum development and ensure that universities mandated to pursue law meet the required facilities.
The Chairman of Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, said the committee had received several petitions on the Legal Professional Bill (2018) and would soon engage stakeholders for their input.
BY BERNARD BENGHAN