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29.11.2006 General News

Ghanaian Lawyers to go mum on political debates?

By gna
Ghanaian Lawyers to go mum on political debates?
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The Ghana Bar Association said on Tuesday it would no longer make any pronouncement or engage in any act that might appear to compromise its hard-won independence.

A press release signed by Mr Kwami Tetteh, National President of the GBA said members have decided the Bar should not play politics and it would therefore be slow to engage in debate on politicised issues.

The press release was in reaction to a statement by Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Former Vice President and candidate for the presidential slot of the opposition National Democratic Congress, expressing unhappiness at the “undue silence” of the Bar on alleged abuses of incumbency by the government.

The GBA said it had decided that it would remain a professional association and not a political party.

It said at a meeting of the General Council of the Bar held on May 31, 2006, the involvement of the Bar in national debate was discussed and a decision was reached that under the current constitutional dispensation, the vibrant watchdog role of the Bar had become less dominant.

The Council decided that “the focus should remain on the establishment of the Association as an institution and the improvement of professional standards at the Bar”.

The press release said at the annual conference of the Bar held at Ho on October 2, 2006, the decision of the Council and modality for engagement of the Bar henceforth in public was reported to members and there was no objection.

“The Bar will readily make an input on intricate legal issues on matters relating to the legal profession. In expressing legal opinion on any matter, it will consider carefully the possibility of such matter going to the courts…. As a rule, the Bar will not enter into debate on any issue unless it is adequately informed on the matter.”

The GBA said Ghana now enjoyed a democratic dispensation with the level of consciousness of the people remaining high.

“The right to free speech now enjoyed by all must be sustained. Lawyers are, therefore, encouraged to participate in public debate if only to enhance the quality of reasoning. The Bar must not kill the participation of the ordinary man by imposing a conclusion to a public debate.”

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