The case of Ward-Brew v Ghana Bar Association tells the story of a time in the past when the Ghana Bar Association had attempted to institute a scheme that will give some preference to senior lawyers.

By a resolution passed by members of the Association at an annual conference, the group decided to institute and confer on some of its members the degree and status of Senior Advocate of Ghana (SAGS).

Recipients of this title were permitted to alter the black gown prescribed by the General Legal Council for use by lawyers in court by sewing on it a red lapel that distinguished those honoured as SAGs from other lawyers.

Furthermore, special areas were reserved for the exclusive parking of the cars of SAGS, at the court parking lot.

Former Presidential Candidate Thomas Nuako Ward-Brew found this problematic and sued the GBA at the High Court.

He represented himself in court while the Ghana Bar Association was represented by current President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mr Brew contended that the association had no authority to institute such a degree and status and further that the alteration of the dress prescribed by the General Legal Council for use by lawyers in court, placed SAGs in a special class, superior to other lawyers including himself, so far as prospective clients were concerned.

Nana Akufo-Addo disagreed. He argued that since the scheme affected the whole of the Legal profession, Mr Brew had no personal interest in the matter and therefore had no capacity to institute instant action.

He argued further that the association concerned itself with matters affecting the legal profession and could consequently pass a resolution instituting the scheme without statutory authorisation for it.

The Court however agreed with Mr Ward-Brew. It ruled that (1) Regulations 2(2) and 9(11) of the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules, 1969 (LI 613) imposed a duty on every lawyer at all times to, uphold the dignity, honour and integrity of the legal profession.

This the court stated empowered any lawyer to institute an action that sought to maintain, ensure or preserve the dignity, honour and integrity of the legal profession if he felt that these were being threatened or undermined by the act or acts of any member of or body in the profession.

The court also ruled that the association had no legal authority whatsoever for the institution of the Senior Advocate of Ghana (SAG) scheme without the consent of the General Legal Counsel.

It, therefore, concluded that its actions were illegal.

The author relied on the Ghana Law Report (No 1 )[1883-1994] 2 Ghana Law Report pages 439-453 for this publication.