Parliament upholds L.I. regulating entrance exams at Law School ….but Minority opposes

Parliament has given legal backing to the Legal Profession (Professional and Post – Call Law Course) Regulations, 2018 (L.I. 2355) that makes it a prerequisite for prospective students to sit an entrance exams before gaining admission to the Ghana School of Law.

The approval of the (L.1. 2355) had gone back and forth,with the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament consulting with several groups and interested parties including the Deputy Attorney-General  and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, officials from the General Legal Council, Kweku Ansa Asare,Director of MountCrest University College.

The Committee also considered memoranda from concerned LLB holders, association of law students’ which had been submitted to both Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Presenting the Committee’s report for its adoption on the floor of the House, chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation, Mahama Ayariga indicated that the Committee does not find the regulations to be in breach of any of the orders and does not contravene Act 32 of the Constitution as advocated by the petitioners.

“Whereas the Committee expresses concerns on the backlog of students who are unable to access professional law education, the Committee is also mindful of the fact that the GLC cannot make any major changes in legal education through a subsidiary legislation.

A comprehensive review of legal education in the country would necessitate a review of the Legal Profession Act,1960 (Act 32) to consolidate the reforms canvassed by the petitioners”.

He also stated that the Committee is content to learn from the Deputy Attorney-General the steps taken by Government to address the situation.

The Association of Law Students’ led by their counsel, Kofi Bentil had argued that the introduction of the entrance examination and an interview process before admission into the Ghana School of Law is contrary to the provisions in Act 32 and L.I 1296.

Background

The General Legal Council(GLC) per Section 14 of the Legal Profession Act,1960 (Act 32) is mandated to make regulations concerning matters of legal education  and in particular, concerning the conduct of preliminary, intermediate and final examinations and fees to be charged for examinations among others.

Currently, Professional Law Course and Post Call to the Ghana Bar are regulated by the Professional Law Course Regulations,1984, (L.I.1296). Regulation 2 of L.I. 1296 provides that “a person shall qualify for admission to the Professional Law Course at the Ghana School of Law, if the person is of good behavior and if the person has a degree conferred by the University of Ghana or any other University or Institution approved by the Council”.

Subsequently, in 2015 the GLC introduced an entrance examination and interview process to scale down the numbers for admission into the School. Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare issued a writ in the Supreme Court seeking among others a declaration that the GLC’s imposition of an entrance examination and interview requirements for the Professional Law Course violate Article 11(7),18(2),23,296 (a) & (b) and 297 of the Constitution.

In compliance with the decision of the Supreme Court, the GLC introduced the Legal Profession(Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulations,2018 (L.I 2355) to Parliament

Minority questions Speaker’s conduct

Following the approval of the L.I., the Minority members of Parliament expressed dismayed at the attitude of the Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, whose conduct, they suggest threatens democracy.

Their reaction follows Speaker’s ruling on the Subsidiary Legislation Committee report which seeks to regulate the Legislative Instrument (L.I.2355), upholding the writing of examinations as a requirement for entering the Law school.

They further contend that they are unhappy because, the Speaker   failed to acknowledge their leadership or give them the audience to challenge the voice vote.

Minority Chief whip, Mohammed Muntaka is also urging civil society to rise up against the conduct of the Speaker of Parliament.