Member of Parliament for the North Tongu constituency in the Volta Region, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa says the National Democratic Congress’ promise to open up the country’s legal education system will not compromise quality.
Flagbearer of the party, John Mahama on September 7, 2020, promised to undertake vigorous legal educational reforms if is elected president on December 7.
The promise, which was also captured in the NDC's 2020 manifesto, stated that an NDC government will: “vigorously reform and expand access to professional legal education and provide opportunities to all qualified LLB holders by granting accreditation to certified law faculties to undertake the professional law qualification course”.
Clarifying the promise in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Ablakwa, noted that the next NDC government will, among other things, establish a Legal Education Council to ensure that quality is guaranteed.
“On the matter of legal education, if you look at our rendition, we have been more nuanced. We’re not just siding with students, wholesale, and saying let everyone go and let’s throw quality and gatekeeping to the dogs. We know that there is a need to expand access but we must maintain standards. So we are talking about the possibility of establishing some Legal Education Council like the National Council for Tertiary Education and National Accreditation Board that deals with quality at the tertiary level.”
“We will find a fine balance between increasing access and making sure students get access and at the same time ensure quality to avoid producing lawyers without the credibility that they deserve. We believe that the current status quo is not the best, not the way to go and there is the need to open up and reforms are certainly needed at this point,” the legislator said.
Calls for reforms in legal education
Consistent mass failures recorded in exams at the Ghana School of Law coupled with challenges in gaining admission to the school have triggered calls for serious reforms in legal education in Ghana.
A Supreme Court Justice, Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi had earlier added his voice to calls for reforms in the country's legal education system.
“I take the view that legal education needs structural reforms. I believe so. You have a system that was designed 60 years ago that has not substantially been reengineered. It is bound to have problems. Populations have increased, the democracy and the rule of law have come to stay… Therefore the appetite for studying law is inevitable in addition to population and in addition to numbers then.”
“I think we need to have a more comprehensive study of the problem and make recommendations for meeting them,” he added.