The Dean of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Law Faculty has praised the manifesto of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which seeks to expand access to professional legal education.
Ernest Kofi Abotsi stated that their policy with regard to legal education in the country is clear and straightforward.
The NDC on page 74 of its manifesto promised to “vigorously” reform and expand access to professional legal education and provide the opportunity to all qualified LLB holders to undertake the professional law qualification course”.
Unlike the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that promised to expand infrastructure for access to professional legal education.
“The pressures of responding to popular sentiment may invariably lead to decisions that are made that do not necessarily address the core issue.
“Between the two manifestoes, clearly, the NDC goes a step further than the NPP by itemizing specifically what it intends to do about the reform,” he said Saturday.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, the Dean admitted that it is gratifying that the NDC has considered the issue of accrediting other law faculties.
However, he said that development must be accompanied with the improvement of their capacity that is, having the necessary human resource to train the students at that level.
Ernest said this quest must not replace the quality of teaching and learning if it is realised.
“Often, if we do not put in place the mechanisms, metrics and systems of assessment to ensure that as we expand access, people are getting the requisite content.”
“Legal education divides into two parts. The theoretical, which is the faculty and the professional training which looks at the procedural aspect of the substantive law.
“Over the years it turns out we have produced a lot more people that can teach the theoretical substantive law but not as many to teach the procedural law,” he lamented.
He stated that if more people are trained to teach the procedural aspect of law, then the NDC’s policy is workable.
The proposal by the NDC has been endorsed by a massive number of law students.
Some of these students have in the past embarked on demonstrations to register their displeasure with the difficulty associated with entrance to the Ghana School of law.
Recently, the National Association of Law Students has launched an attack on the governing NPP’s proposed policy to reform legal education.
The group says the plan is not a reflection of recent global developments making it “awkward, misleading, retrogressive, and very weak.”, as compared to that of the NDC which they say proposed solution as “giving hope, more caring, and believable”.
Admission to the Ghana School of law has been a topical issue in the country as many LLB holders struggle to gain entry.
Some law experts have called for the accreditation to other law faculties to enable them to provide professional law courses.
One of such advocates is CDD-Ghana fellow in Public Law and Justice, Prof. Stephen Asare who dragged the Attorney General and General Legal Council to court with the argument that the current arrangement on legal education is unconstitutional.
However, the Supreme Court has in a unanimous decision dismissed the case.
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