The Rector of MountCrest University College (MountCrest), Mrs. Irene Ansa-Asare Horsham, has noted that Ghana needs more qualified law graduates that are ‘fit-for-purpose’ to fill the ‘gaping holes’ in the public sector, in academia, the administration of justice and the management of law practices.
As a matter of urgency, she said, there is also a need for many more parliamentary counsels, legislative draftsmen, paralegals, clerks and interpreters in courts; and legally qualified public prosecutors and career magistrates among others.
She also stressed that the time for an overhaul of our legal education system is now. Mrs. Horsham was speaking at the 10th matriculation ceremony for fresh law students of MountCrest, which was held online (virtual) in line with the school’s strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
Restricting access to legal education is a step backward for our development, and that restriction must be removed as a matter of urgency, the Rector pointed out.
She added that the legal education system should embrace innovative ways of teaching and learning the law, while expanding to include all areas of the greater legal profession.
She said: “Our system of legal education has, rather than being progressive, become restrictive, based on what I consider to be an erroneous notion that we have too many lawyers in Ghana”.
She also called for the immediate scrapping of the entrance examination to the Ghana School of Law.
Mrs. Horsham noted that the entrance examination creates a danger of taking away the focus of law faculties from training ethically-responsible graduates with a strong sense of good governance and social justice, to rather focusing solely on strategies aimed at passing the law school entrance examination at the end of the LLB – and in effect producing what she called “walking encyclopedias”.
The Rector observed that this approach is insular, regressive and does little to contribute to the socio-economic needs of the country, adding that Ghana needs law graduates who appreciate the importance of ethics, strong research skills in knowing where to find the law and producing more knowledge, strong practical critical thinking and analytical skills.
She said in line with its objective to prepare law graduates who can fit well into all spheres of life, MountCrest University College (MountCrest) – the first private institution in Ghana to run a law faculty – has initiated an innovative system of teaching and learning to introduce its law students to lifelong skills which are relevant to the larger legal profession.
The system, known as the Clinical Legal Education Approach, ensures that students learn the law with an element of practical instruction and hands-on experience in different areas of the legal profession, both locally and internationally.
MountCrest graduates pursuing the professional law course at the Ghana School of Law, she noted, have consistently acquitted themselves creditably. The first batch of 29 students admitted to the Law School achieved high performance – scoring a 100% pass rate, with all 29 being called to the Bar at first attempt. Subsequent batches have also performed exceptionally since then.
Fifty-eight alumni of MountCrest were among those most recently called to the Bar, with the prize for Advocacy and Ethics awarded to Ms. Akua Afriyie-Badu – who obtained her LLB from MountCrest with First Class Honours.
Captain Jamal Tonzua Seidu, pioneer student of MountCrest and a current member of the school’s Law Faculty, also recently graduated from the Georgetown University with a Master of Laws (LLM) in Energy and Environmental Law with double academic honours.
The Acting Registrar of MountCrest, Ms. Ama A. Akor, performed the administration and subscription of the Matriculation Oath to the students.
The Deputy Registrar, Academic and Students Affairs, Mr. Ernest Koomson on behalf of Dean of the Law Faculty of MountCrest, Mr. Kwaku Ansa-Asare, presented the matriculants and urged them to study hard in order to achieve their academic and career dreams for the benefit of Ghana and the world at large.
On behalf of the students, Ms. Helena Baaba Botchway said they were privileged and proud to be matriculants of, undoubtedly, one of the best private universities in the country, producing the best brains for Ghana and the world at large. “We have no doubt in our minds that we have made the right choice. The future ahead of us is certainly bright with this choice,” she added.
“We commit to live by the rules and tenets of the university as we embark on this all-important journey to success. We commit to assist management continue to make MountCrest a beacon of quality education,” she pledged on behalf of the students.