Suspended private legal practitioner, Francis-Xavier Sosu has taken on the mouthpiece of lawyers, Ghana Bar Association (GBA), saying it does not care about the welfare of lawyers.
According to the popular human rights lawyer, the professional body has now become a “dues collection agency.”
Mr. Sosu who is also the International Coordinator, Monitoring Committee on Attack on Lawyers of the International Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL) made the remark when he led the group to petition the Parliament of Ghana, the Chief Justice and the Ghana Bar Association among others over what they describe as arbitrary treatment of Lawyers in Ghana.
The embattled Human Rights Lawyer presented the Petition as part of activities of the Association to mark the International Day of Endangered Lawyers which fell on 24th January 2018.
Parts of the Petition read: "As we celebrate this year’s Endangered Lawyer’s Day, it is important to remind the legal fraternity in Ghana of the possible dangers that confront our legal practice. Many Lawyers in Ghana grieve in silence and in fear to the detriment of an otherwise open and progressive legal system. Lawyers in Ghana are in chains and lack any form of legal protection from the Bar Association.
“The Ghana Bar Association, which is supposed to be the mouthpiece of Lawyers has turned itself into a dues collection agency. Young Lawyers at the Bar do not have security of earnings and any serious guarantees of future career progression. Lawyers do not have any serious welfare system to come to their aid when they are in serious need and problems.
“Regulation of Legal Education in Ghana and providing opportunities for LLB holders to become lawyers in Ghana by the General Legal Council is almost in total chaos and needs immediate attention. About some 3000 Ghanaian LLB students who are potential lawyers now look on with despair to what Parliament will do with the proposed Legal Profession Regulation (2017). The Ghana Bar Association should be speaking to these issues and providing leadership and possible stakeholder’s discussion to find a permanent solution that will be in the public interest and in the interest of the profession”.
It further noted that: “When it comes to discipline of Lawyers, we have a Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council consisting of Court of Appeal, High Court and Supreme Court judges. When a decision is given by the Disciplinary Committee and a person is aggrieved, the Lawyer would have to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Clearly to have a panel consisting of Supreme Court justices and later appear at the Court of Appeal, creates a serious potential denial of justice and fairness to Lawyers. It is my opinion that the composition of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council essentially breaches the rules of fair trial which underpin Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.”
Petition to Egyptian Government
Meanwhile, Mr. Sosu has also petitioned the Egyptian Government through its embassy in Ghana, demanding for an end to persecution of lawyers and human rights activists in that country.
He remarked, the presentation of the petition was part of his personal commitment to promoting the welfare of Lawyers in Egypt.
"It is out of despondency that I write this Petition in solidarity with all Lawyers and Human Rights activists in Egypt as the international community marks this special day of Endangered Lawyers.
“…I join the several thousands of Lawyers and Human Rights Activists across the world to protest the incessant attacks on Human Rights Activists, Lawyers and Journalists in Egypt. I condemn the arbitrary arrests, torture during custody, killing of demonstrators who freely exercise their freedom of expression, unfair trials and several death sentences among many others.
“I wish to use this opportunity to remind the Egyptian government of its international obligation to respect, protect and promote the fundamental rights of its citizens without discrimination,” the petition noted.
The General Legal Council (GLC) in June 2017, barred the prominent Human Rights lawyer from practising as a lawyer for one year after he was found guilty of professional misconduct.
Francis-Xavier Sosu and his accuser, Francis Agyare
It followed a complaint filed at the Council by one of his clients, Francis Agyare, who accused Mr. Sosu and his law firm F-X Law & Associates of attempting to swindle him.
The Council also reached a decision to ban the lawyer for another three years for advertising himself on social media in respect of cases involving Patrick Reynolds who was paralyzed by a fallen billboard at flower pot and his human rights action against the Attorney General, Chief of Defence Staff and another.
He, however, challenged the ruling at the Court of Appeal seeking to stay the three-year suspension imposed on him until an appeal challenging his suspension is determined.
But the Court of Appeal declined jurisdiction over the motion.