The Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (SDD-UBIDS) in the Upper West Region on Wednesday launched a law faculty to become the first Law School in the northern part of the country, with the matriculation of 105 students.
The Law school is projected to meet the needs of prospective law students in the northern part of the country as it becomes the first public law school in the north.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Counsel Chair of the University, Mr Kweku Yamoah Paintsil, said students of the school were expected to be of high professional standard and be ethically guided.
He said the credibility of their personality as lawyers depended on the moral values they would uphold along their training to becoming professional lawyers.
The Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ms Diana Asonaba Dapaah, who spoke on the theme “Access to quality legal education; a joint responsibility, getting it right at Dombo University”, said access to quality legal education went beyond establishing more law schools to ensuring access to quality teaching and learning facilities.
“Regarding the advocacy for opening access to law education, any view that overlooks the common denominator of quality misses the gap because this is not about more law schools but rather ensuring access to relevant teaching and learning facilities to enhance quality,” she said.
She said that poor student-lecturer ratio, lack of adequate or appropriate libraries and materials, insufficient lecturers, infrastructure and other resources were some of the key challenges of some law schools which limited access to quality teaching and learning.
Ensuring quality in law schools in the country, Ms Dapaah noted, was a joint responsibility that required the input of the General Legal Council, the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, lawyers and every other stakeholder.
She admonished the university to be mindful of student-lecturer ratio; provide libraries with sufficient sitting capacities to encourage research and also provide holistic legal education through lectures, tutorials, internships, and exchange programmes.
“With the attraction that comes with the job, people are sometimes forced to study law but when they are unable to meet the challenge of dedicating long hours to research and further learning, they malign the system and the older lawyers portrayed as villains who do not want younger ones to join the profession.
“It is not a given that once you secure admission to a law school you secure your career as a lawyer, it must be achieved through hard work,” she said.
Professor Kwadwo Appiagyei Atua of the University of Ghana School of Law commended the SDD-UBIDS for the move, which he said would help bridge the gap in legal education between the north and southern parts of the country.
He charged the students who were aspiring to become lawyers to pay attention to the rule of law, principles of legality, legal certainty of equality of individuals before the law, among others.
The Vice-Chancellor of the SDD-UBIDS, Professor Philip Duku Osei, in his welcome address, encouraged the students to study hard and strictly adhere to the rules and regulations of the university, stating that degrees were awarded not only for academic excellence but also for good character.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA