Two minority Members of Parliament (MPs) are seeking an amendment to the Legal Profession Act, 1960, Act 32 to bring reforms to Ghana’s legal education. The MP for Madina, Francis Xavier-Sosu, and his South Dayi counterpart, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, are set to file a Private Member’s Bill to this effect.
In their Memo to the Clerk of Parliament, the two lawmakers want the assistance of the legislative drafting office of Parliament to draft a Bill for them to exclude the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court from the General Legal Council.
They also want a redefinition of the functions of the General Legal Council and to provide for reforms in legal education such that accredited Faculties of Law with the requisite facilities would be licensed to run professional law courses, and provide for discipline of lawyers and related matters to give effect to Article 37 (1) of the Constitution.
This proposed amendment is coming at a time when some 499 First Degree holders in Law who are alleged to have passed the Ghana School of Law entrance examination have been denied admission.
However, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, in a response to Parliament, indicated that the House does not have the power to give such directives to the General Legal Council.
The Minister said, the legislative powers granted Parliament under the Constitution, do not extend to issuing such directives by resolution. Under the law, the General Legal Council is given the mandate to regulate admission into the Ghana School of Law.
However, in so doing, the Council is legally bound to take directions from only the Minister. Mr. Dame believes this provision leaves everything within the domain of the Executive and not the legislature.
The amendments being proposed by the two MPs have been suggested by legal experts and law lecturers as the way forward.