As part of effort and fight to make legal training and education more accessible to Ghanaians, some legal practitioners have added their voice to the call for the government to make reforms aimed at improving legal education in Ghana.
A private legal practitioner, Mr. Kofi Bentil has said there is a need for reforms in the legal education system in Ghana to enable many more people to benefit from legal training.
According to him, the current legal education and training in the country is unsatisfactory and therefore called on the government and all stakeholders to make reforms to address the current challenges.
“Legal education has to be reformed and it will be reformed in this country. The present arrangement is not satisfactory and unfortunately, it is taking too long for our leaders to fix it. I am hopeful that our leaders themselves will come to the realization that they need to act quickly” he said.
Mr Bentil who was speaking at a panel discussion organized by the Law Students’ Union (LSU) of the Central University in Accra on the theme “the future of legal education in Ghana, building 21st-century practice”
attributed the challenges at the Ghana School of Law to the failure of leadership and lack of planning over many years and called on the leadership of the school to address the problem properly.
“Fortunately there is a simple solution. The solution is to treat the law course as any other professional course…the state doing it should not limit other people from doing it. We should open up and allow many more people to train as lawyers.” he said.
Mr Samson Anyenini, a legal practitioner for his part commended the LSU for igniting the debate on diversification of legal education stressing that it would better position students and exposed them to the legal regimes in other jurisdiction.
The President of the law students of the Central University, Ms Elizabeth Abu-Baidoo in her address also underscored the need for diversification in legal education to meet the demands of the 21st century.
She noted “Legal Education in Ghana has evolved over the years, both positively and negatively. However, the key question has to do with the future of the legal education in the country. How should the General Legal Council shape its scope concerning Legal Education? “
“Several questions have been asked regarding the 21st-century trends in practice and how well the country has done to meet this century’s demand.”
We all have a part to play to ensure that the proper future we all dream to have as the country’s Legal Educational System will be realized”. she added.
Ms. Abu-Baidoo said on the attainment of independence in 1957, the Government at the time, decided to provide facilities for legal education in Ghana. This was occasioned by the vast and varying demands by Ghanaians for legal services.
To achieve this goal, she said the Legal Practitioners Act, 1958 was enacted by Parliament that led to the creating of the General Legal Council charged with the responsibility for organizing among others legal education in Ghana.
She indicated that many aspects of education including legal education were driven by new market dynamics of demand and supply. Ms. Abu – Baidoo, however, noted that the old adage remains that law is an instrument of social engineering, and the addendum is that Law students are part and parcel of agents of social engineering resulting to change, hence legal education must diversify for law students and lawyers to impact positively in today’s world.
Ms. Abu-Baidoo observed that the Digital Age also provides an opportunity to revitalize and modernize legal education and to make it more individualized, relevant, human, and accessible.
“The question is: will legal educators engage in the thoughtful, reflective, and visionary recreations of legal education that is destined or will we simply serve as twentieth-century models for the twenty-first-century avatars software will create to replace us?
Will legal educators turn away our eyes from the methods and resources of the twentieth century and look to the Digital Age to envision the future of legal education? If the shackles of habit, culture, and accreditation were broken, what would legal education look like in 2050?” she quizzed.
Source: Thepressradio.com/Boadi Dickson