Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo

The Private Universities Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) is calling for a total overhaul of Ghana’s legal education system.

In a statement copied to Adomonline.com, PUSAG said it wants the barriers which have impeded prospective lawyers from achieving their dreams to be removed to create equal opportunities for all.

“A few weeks ago, former Director of Ghana School of Law,  Mr Ansa Asare pressed on students of Ghana to rise up against the conduct of the General Legal Council which seeks to kill their vibes and bury the aspiration of those who are interested in joining the legal profession.

“It
is against this backdrop that, we, as the mother students body of
Private Universities in Ghana are using this opportune time to call on
National Union of Ghana Students (NUGs), Ghana Union of Professional
Students(GUPS), University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), and
other student unions and interested stakeholders to come out and rally
support behind our the Law Students,” PUSAG leadership said in a
statement.

Below is the full statement:

Private Universities Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) wishes to add its voice to the recent back and forth between Law Students and the General Legal Council.

We have become aware of the fact that, both, in their quest to be heard have all been invited by the Constitutional And Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament.

Few weeks ago, former Director of Ghana School of Law,  Mr Ansa Asare pressed on students of Ghana to rise up against the conduct of the General Legal Council which seeks to kill their vibes and bury the aspiration of those who are interested in joining the legal profession.

It is against this backdrop that, we, as the mother students body of Private Universities in Ghana are using this opportune time to call on National Union of Ghana Students (NUGs), Ghana Union of Professional Students(GUPS), University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), and other student unions and interested stakeholders to come out and rally support behind our the Law Students. Before we tackle the substance of this whole brouhaha, we would like to make it clear that, “when a witch cries in the night and the next morning a child is dead, the fetish priest in that vicinity must be spared of any allegation connected to the death of that child”.

This proverbial expression underscores the fact that, from the very first day the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana vehemently spoke against the mass production of lawyers in Ghana and threatened that, in so far as she has anything to do with our legal education, mass production of lawyers won’t happen, a child was going to die.

It is also not in doubt that, few weeks after her statement, results of the recent exams to the Ghana school of law shocked the whole country.

The idea behind the entrance exams was exposed when Professor S.K Asare challenged the GLC at the supreme court. The fundamental idea behind this entrance exams as part of the admission process is to limit the number of intake at the Ghana School of Law because of lack of capacity and not an issue of quality.

The very submission of the Attorney General who was joint to the case as a nominal defendant also spoke about the unconstitutional limitation of access to professional legal education.

According to the court, that assertion is a clear  admission that over the  years as the Council  approved institutions  other than UG to admit  persons to pursue  courses of instruction  leading to the award of  degrees in law as a  requirement of the two  stage systems of  legal  education that it had put  in place, not much attention appeared to be given to the rise in the  number of persons  likely  to  be  turned  out  in  relation  to classroom  spaces  in  the  School  contrary  to  the  clear  statutory  provision  in  section  13  of Act  32  when  read  in  the  light  of  regulation  2  of  LI  1296.

The  situation  which  according to  defendants  compelled  the  Council  to  introduce  the  new  requirements  could  in  all sincerity  have  been  avoided  if  the  Council  had  given  careful  thought  and  consideration to  the  likely  impact  of  the  huge  numbers  of  law  graduates  on  the  facilities  available  in the  School.

We have also become aware of the frustration at the Ghana School of Law pertaining to a worrying situation where a trail in one paper pushes the person back to write all the papers he passed again together with the trailed paper as a fresh start. It is highly unacceptable in any professional environment. Even in ICA or other professional exams, a single trail affords the person the opportunity to rewrite the said paper and not the ones he has obtained credible passes.

We are by this release throwing our support to the law students to demand a total overhaul of our legal education. The barriers to entry must also be set aside.

Again, we are by this proposing that, other qualified law faculties with the needed infrastructure must be properly regulated by the General Legal Council and be allowed to run both the professional law course as well as the LLB courses to ease pressure on the limited facilities at the Ghana School of law.

The very LI that fortifies the entrance exams must be repealed to expand access to the Ghana school of law.