A group calling itself the concerned law students, has submitted a petition to Parliament against a new Legal Instrument (LI) by the General Legal Council (GLC), which is proposing new regulations for admissions and professional law courses in Ghana.
The group has described the LI as a deliberate and unreasonable effort by the Council to frustrate their attempts to gain admissions and their human rights.
Ken Addor Donkor, the leader of the group, said the proposed LI is “an attempt to just kill the dreams of law students.”
The LI in question, among other things, states that the GLC will conduct an entrance exam for the admission of students to the school, and conduct interviews for all applicants who pass the Ghana School of Law Entrance Examination.
This is following the Supreme Court declaring as unconstitutional the requirement by the GLC asking applicants to the Ghana Law school to undertake an examination and subsequent interview before admission.
Thus, it appears the council is only seeking to legalize the process, by getting the law to back it.
Notably, the LI under consideration also proposes that a person may be disqualified for admissions based on the compatibility of their profession to the course. Also, a person disqualified from the admissions process on three separate occasions can never qualify for the law school.
In Mr. Donkor’s view, this and other points from the new LI under consideration were “against natural justice” and against “their [law student’s] fundamental human rights.”
“You can see the subjectivity and the kind of power they have allocated to themselves, and these are public bodies amenable to the supervision of the high court,” he stated.
Mr. Donkor further cited Article 23 of the constitution in his argument, which says: “administrative bodies and administrative officials shall act fairly and reasonably, and comply with the requirements imposed on them by law, and persons aggrieved by the exercise of such acts and decisions, shall have the right to seek redress before a court or other tribunal.”
Supreme Court bars exams, interviews for Law School
When the Supreme Court declared the interviews unconstitutional, it said the requirements are in violation of the Legislative Instrument 1296 which gives direction for the mode of admission.
The Justices in delivering their judgment, also indicated that their order should not take retrospective effect, but should be implemented in six months, when admissions for the 2018 academic year begins.
The plaintiff, Professor Kwaku Asare, a United States-based Ghanaian lawyer, went to court in 2015, challenging the legality of the modes of admission used by the Ghana School of Law.
According to him, the number of people who were admitted into the Ghana School of Law was woefully small considering the number of people who possessed LLB.
The Ghana Law School has been criticized for being overly rigid considering that it serves 12 schools providing LLB degrees.
The current training regime limits the intake into the Ghana Law School to under 500 of the about-2000 LLB graduates annually.
In his suit, Professor Kwaku Asare prayed for a declaration that GLC’s imposition of entrance examination and interview requirements for the Professional Law Course violates Articles ll (7) 297 (d) 23, 296 (a) (b) and 18 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.