South Dayi MP, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor and the Madina MP, Francis-Xavier Sosu have written to Parliament to direct the Legislative drafting department to put together a Private Members Bill to amend the Legal Professions Act, 1960, Act 32. 

The bill will among other things seek to amend Act 32, to exclude the Chief Justice as well as other Justices of the Supreme Court from the General Legal Council (GLC) and redefine Its functions.

In a memo to the Clerk of Parliament, the MPs stated that it has become important to review the policy direction of the Ghana School of Law under the administration of the General Legal Council due to recent reports of mass failure in the School’s Entrance Examination and the public outcry it engendered.

“The bill is to provide for reforms in Legal Education such that accredited Faculties of Law with the requisite facilities would be licensed to run professional law courses, provide for discipline of lawyers and related matters to give effect to Article 37(1) of the 1992 Constitution.”

It would be recalled that some candidates who failed to secure admission into the Ghana School of Law sued the GLC for denying them admission although they obtained the 50% pass mark in the entrance examination.

Only 790 out of the 2,820 candidates who sat the 2021 entrance examination for admission into the Ghana School of Law were deemed to have passed, thus were admitted to the only professional legal training institution in Ghana.

The candidates who were denied admission contend that the pass mark for the examination has always been 50%.

But, unbeknownst to them, the rule was changed, with regard to the 2021 examination, to at least 50% in both sections.

Four hundred and ninety-nine (499) of the unsuccessful candidates therefore filed a suit against the GLC. In the suit, they are praying the court to compel the Ghana School of Law to offer them admission for the 2021/22 academic year.

The students claim in their writ that their fundamental human rights have been violated by the regulatory body.

Mr Dafeamekpor and Mr Francis-Xavier Sosu in their memo highlighted some problems in the GLC that the bill will seek to solve.

With regard to having judges on the Board of the GLC, the MPs stated that, “it creates an issue, especially in instances where the decision of General Legal Council are challenged in the Court of Appeal and the Judges have to review the decisions of their superiors.”

Hence, amending Section 15 to remove the Chief Justice from the Board of Legal Education and provide for definite term for the Board, will ensure that all forms of the likelihood of bias are eliminated.

The MPs also called for the amendment of Section 8(1) of the Legal Professions Act to ensure the licence issued by the General Legal Council does not expire so far as the lawyer remains enrolled.

“Section 13 is amended to provide for Unified Bar Examination to be conducted by Board of Legal Education under the supervision of the General Legal Council and also provides for licensing of law faculties to run the Professional Course and to prepare students for the Unified Bar Examinations,” they added.

The MPs are also seeking an amendment to provide for a Disciplinary Committee by the Ghana Bar Association which shall be responsible to hear disciplinary matters in respect of all Lawyers in Ghana and enforce disciplinary standards.

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