The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood has observed that the proliferation of faculties of law in the last decade has not been accompanied by promotion and maintenance of standards.
She said while opening of Faculties of law was good thing generally, shambolic legal education could only spell doom for Ghana’s young democracy
“Indeed, it is common knowledge that some of these schools are deprived of teaching faculty that they have had to depend on staff of other schools to teach in their schools on part time basis… simply put they do not have the wherewithal to run a good law programme”.
Mrs Wood made the observation at the Mini call of 46 new lawyers held at the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The enrolment of the 46 new lawyers including 15 females is in relation to the Act 32 of 1960.
The Chief Justice indicated further that the setting of law faculties or schools in the country has now become an economic proposition and entrepreneurs have also seen in them an investment opportunity.
The Chief Justice said while different faculties had sprung up with wide and differential standards in teaching, facilities and infrastructure, what the country needed were good lawyers, “not just lawyers for the sake of their production”.
Mrs Wood lauded the various reforms embarked by the General Legal Council (GLC) and the National Accreditation Board (NAB), adding the Council was committed to combating long standing habits and evil that continued to undermine the drive towards professional excellence and legal education in Ghana.
However, the Chief Justice said it might seem that the NAB had done its best in ensuring that standards were maintained and requirements met before schools were set up, owners of these schools have employed evasive techniques following their initial accreditation.
“Over the last couple of months the Council has been collaborating with the Board to intensify the accreditation of faculties of law by instituting enduring measures that would ensure effective collaboration following their initial accreditation,” he added.
Additionally, the Chief Justice said the General Legal Council has also in the meantime instituted the setting up of the Independent Examination Board made of members of highest repute.
“In the medium to long term, the Council will engage in consultative deliberation to fashion out and devise the best way forward as we finalise the reform for legal education in Ghana”.
Mrs Wood said the Council was encouraged by the wider interest shown by the public in the law course but asked that “interest must be matched by standards and we are determined to ensure that standards are met and upheld.”
To the new Lawyers, the Chief Justice commended them for prevailing in the long fought battle as students, adding “you have to re-energize yourselves in the challenges coming your way.”
She further admonished the lawyers to be careful who their mentors were, adopt the ways of a hard worker and “gain respect and trust of everyone so they could enjoy the wealth that come with it in peace and not in sorrow.”
The CJ, who took the lawyers through an undertaking, told them that they were graduating at a time that the perception of the public on the legal profession was somewhat negative.
She therefore urged them to resolve to start afresh and renew “our strengths and commitment against the forces standing against our progress as a people and nation…. You are our opportunity for hope and renewal increasingly challenging but exciting times for the rule of law and democratic governance.”
“We have to restore the belief of the public in our ability to do good and to champion the rule of law against the pressure to profiteer,” the Chief Justice said.
Ms Gloria Akuffo, the Attorney General, Mr Benson Nutsukpi, President of the Ghana Bar Association, Justices William Atuguba and Julius Ansah were among dignitaries who graced the occasion.