Institutions in civilised societies across the globe initiate policies and programmes for and on behalf of the masses. Policies that inure to the benefit of the collective.
However, this cannot be said about the General Legal Council (GLC), a body that regulates legal education and practice in Ghana.
This is a body that must champion the ideals of Rule of Law. However, this body appears to be the most lawless institution in the whole world. The sad aspect is that the GLC is chaired by a respected Supreme Court Judge, Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo, the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana.
The Chief Justice recently met with judges and lawyers. She admonished lawyers and law teachers who advocate for the opening up of legal education in Ghana. She warned them to be careful what they wish for (training of more lawyers in Ghana). She maintained that as far as she has something to do with it (training of lawyers) , it won’t happen, that is to say, she will make sure that few lawyers are trained.
She glorified limited number of doctors and surgeons in Ghana. And concluded that just like the medical field, Ghana must not have mass production of lawyers. She sarcastically advised members of the general public to go onto the internet and turn themselves into lawyers if they want to be lawyers.
Her position implies that she is always happy to see an illiterate population in Ghana with fewer elite she would handpick to become lawyers. But for this reason, what would be the motivation for limiting the number of people wanting to genuinely enter a profession when the President is looking for money to execute free SHS? If all professional bodies choose to shut their doors to the youth, where would the free SHS graduates go?
My interest in her advice is; “….Ghana(ians) must not have mass-produced lawyers imposed on them.” I am happy our dear Chief Justice acknowledges that illogical ideals must not be imposed on Ghanaians. There is an ongoing public outcry of the retrogressive manner in which legal education is being handled under Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo’s watch. Who are those crying? Are they not Ghanaians?
If two former Presidents of the Republic of Ghana have openly criticized the crook manner in which legal education is being handled; if seasoned journalists like Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, Kwame Sefa Kayi, David Ampofo, Manasseh Azure Awuni, Randy Abby, Kwesi Pratt Jnr and many more see everything wrong with the Chief Justice’s approach; if learned lawyers like Prof Bondzie-Simpson, Prof Kwaku Asare, Lawyer Ansa Asare (Former Director of the Law School), Alban Bagbin (2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament) have counselled against the retrogressive approach spearheaded by the Chief Justice; if the Clergy in their various denominational services have questioned the logic in this approach; if civil society groups and their leaders like Prof H. Kwasi Prempeh, Kofi Bentil etc have critically analyzed this philosophy and made nonsense of it; if parents and guardians can’t wrap their minds around this ideology; isn’t it proper to conclude that the Chief Justice and the GLC are imposing the wrong approach on Ghanaians ??? Why should the Chief Justice preach against imposition of backward ideals on Ghanaians but turn around and impose retrogressive ideals on the same Ghanaians? Isn’t this a dissonance?
The Chief Justice, at a programme organised by the University of Ghana, clarified her stance and pressed on quality and meeting international standards when it comes to legal education. I applaud the Chief Justice for preaching international standards. Meeting international standards in Ghana is the way to go. However, many people including beneficiaries of the ongoing free SHS policy have examined if Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo practices these international standards she has long preached.
We learned that the GLC under her leadership made law students sign an undertaking, to wit, students do not have any right whatsoever to challenge the outcome of the exams before they were made to write the entrance exams for 2019; which international standard is this? Where on earth is this injustice practised? Why does the Chief Justice preach international standards but practice far below local standards?
We are made aware that the GLC has no curriculum, no examiners report after conducting examinations. Where are these “international standards” coming from? International standards are that, an examining body must publish curriculum, publish examiners’ report. The examiners’ report would indicate what was expected of candidates, and where candidates got it right or wrong. All these international standards are not practised by the GLC chaired by Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo. Yet our dear Chief Justice is busy preaching international standards.
The Chief Justice admonished the general public to go onto the internet and turn themselves into lawyers if they want to be lawyers. Is this call part of the “international standards” our granny preaches about?
If by the standards of the GLC, the students have failed; isn’t it prudent to produce examiners report, make their scripts available and allow for remarking? Wouldn’t the general public applaud the GLC for being transparent? If the GLC has failed in these common knowledge practices, why should the students be blamed for the 93% failure? To the extent of ignoring these common-sense practices, the GLC has failed Ghanaians by imposing what wouldn’t have been done in the 1960s on them in 2019. Ghana has indeed retrogressed in legal education.
Since the GLC has failed, the president of the Republic must show real leadership by addressing the petition by law students in a transparent manner. H.E Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo expects us to be citizens but not spectators. God bless our homeland Ghana…..and help us resist oppressors rule.