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Attorney General asked to replace Legal Profession Bill

The Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has recommended that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akuffo, should submit a new bill to replace the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

According to the committee, preliminary review of the current bill before the house had shown that, it could not address challenges confronting the country’s legal education system, hence the need for its withdrawal and substitution.

In its report on a petition by the National Association of the Law Students (NALS) seeking reforms in the country’s legal system, signed by Committee Chairman, Ben Abdallah Banda, it asked the General Legal Council (GLC) to expedite action on the new bill.

It would be recalled that on October 7, last year, the NALS petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over limited access to professional legal training and mass failures of entrance examination, which they alleged was due to systemic failures.

The Speaker of Parliament who was copied in the petition, referred it to the committee for consideration and report following which the committee met parties involved.

“The committee considers that the current challenge confronting the country‘s legal education system offer unique opportunity for us to carry out massive legislative and structural reforms towards finding lasting solution to the challenges in the system,” it said.

It observed that past reforms in the country’s legal education system “have been piecemeal and that accounted for the inability to find lasting solution to the issue. The passage of the new Legislative Instrument was cited as one of such failed efforts”.

On the controversies surrounding the results of the 2019 entrance examination, the committee recommended that the GLC should start the process for remarking of scripts upon request and at reasonable fees.

It also recommended that, since the 2019 /2020 academic year of the academic year of the Ghana School of Law (GSL) has already started, a viable enrolment and a catch up  strategy  should be introduced for successful candidates  in the professional law programme.

 Additionally, it asked the GLC to consider publishing marking schemes and examiner’s report on its website and deposit copies at it library for prospective applicants to the GSL.

According to the report, the committee was concerned about recent mass failure in 2017 and 2018 Professional Law Examinations in which only 17.5 per cent and 12.2 per cent of law students respectively passed and attributed the failure to systemic challenges.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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