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Saturday, November 27, 2021

National Association of Law students rejects AG’s legal profession bill

The National Association of Law students has repelled the legal profession bill by the Attorney General seeking to consolidate and amend the existing legislation regulating the legal profession.

President of the Association, Hassan Asare, speaking on News Night, Wednesday, said the bill does not provide transparency and open access to legal education in the country.

The bill, which is yet to be laid in Parliament, will empower the General Legal Council to allocate quotas to universities that the Council has approved to run the Bachelor of Laws programme. 

The bill will also reintroduce the previously discarded interview process as part of the admission into the Ghana Law School.

Among other things, the new bill demands that persons who intend to appeal the decisions of the General Legal Council’s Disciplinary Committee can no longer go to the High Court but the Supreme Court. But they must first seek the leave of the Disciplinary Committee or the Supreme Court.

The demands of the bill, according to Mr Asare, does not meet the expectation of the association of law students.

He said the bill will rather exacerbate the controversies surrounding legal education in the country.

“I find it a bit problematic that after all is said and done and with struggles going back and forth, we are still going back to the same thing and indeed in its worse state…As long as I am concerned and as long as this bill is concerned for which we reject totally in its entirety, it has its own interest and pushes some agenda.

“For me it doesn’t still meet any expectation that we have if for anything it has actually worsened the situation so for us we totally reject the bill,” he noted.

He added that the association will offer its full support to the private members’ bill presented by the Madina Member of Parlimaet (MP), Francis-Xavier Sosu and South Dayi MP, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor.

“We give our support and whatever to the honorables who provided the private member bill. They are the people we are going to support and ensure that this bill is being passed because when the bill comes out it will actually resolve this problem once and for all,” he said.

Both MPs through the bill are seeking the amendment of the Legal Professions Act, 1960, 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.

A former Director of the Ghana School of Law, Kwaku Ansa-Asare, has also urged the Attorney General to shelve his bill and do further consultation with all stakeholders.

Speaking on PM Express, Wednesday, Kwaku Ansa-Asare explained that the bill has been rushed.

“I will say that the entire bill at this stage must be withdrawn. First, because there has not been sufficient stakeholder consultations. What the Attorney General seems to be doing is rushing a bill that has not been considered by stakeholders. Secondly, there seems to be a lot of politicking going on with legal education,” he told JoyNews.

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