Pursuant to the Supreme Court order that the law for admitting students to the School of Law in 2018 must be in place by December 22, 2017 and following the sudden death of the obnoxious LI that the GLC improperly and hurriedly attempted to lay in Parliament on the said date, I call on the Council to come out with a detailed plan, which accommodates all LLB degree holders as required by LI 1296, by March 30, 2018.
To this end, I invite the Council to outsource the teaching of the professional program to the various Law Faculties, who must come out with an auditable program that shows their readiness to offer the courses by May 31, 2018. It is entirely mythical to assume that the professional program, which comprises of courses in evidence, procedure, taxation, conveyancing, trial practice, family law, etc. can only be taught at the School of Law.
Alternatively, the Council may explore the use of electronic platforms and recorded classes that allow students to access course materials from anywhere. If so, the Council must come out with verifiable plans, pilot same, and show readiness to go live on opening day by May 31, 2018.
In either or both cases, the Council must preannounce the examination requirements for the qualifying certificate in law by May 31, 2018 and provide assurances that the examination and grading would be fair and auditable. I propose a 3-man committee composed of fair minded lawyers, independent of the Council and its IEB, to serve as external referees to address any examination and grading grievances. What would be completely unacceptable is for the GLC to be caught off guard again and for it to come out in July telling the country of its unpreparedness to implement the admission policy in LI 1296.
Five years of lawbreaking without being held accountable is enough! The GLC must reach out to education entrepreneurs to seek ideas on how to implement LI 1296. It is not very difficult to emplace systems to cover the professional programs and to administer the necessary qualifying certificate examinations. Further, the Council must resist any temptations to waste its time on bringing another LI.
Needless to say, Parliament must exercise its oversight authority over the Council and demand answers to (1) why the Council willfully violated the Constitution, the Parent Act, and LI 1296; (2) the harm that the violations have caused; and (3) specific steps that the Council has taken or is taking to compensate the victims of its illegalities. No new LI should be adopted by Parliament why these issues are outstanding. For the avoidance of doubt, legal education in Ghana was never meant to and does not terminate with an award of LLB.
The GLC must carefully study the Parent Act and its rich legislative history to appreciate, once and for all, that what the Act contemplates is a bifurcated model with a starting point at the Faculties and an exit point at the School of Law or other alternative institutions. Thus, the LI that the GLC is bent on laying in Parliament will be ultra vires the Parent Act and hence unlawful.
There is real work to do and there is little wisdom in bringing another LI, which will fail and, in any event, cannot govern admissions for 2018 and is bound to be stricken down as unconstitutional. On the other hand, if the current members find that they cannot implement LI 1296 then they must resign for those who can do it to be hired to do so. We must work very hard to enforce LI 1296, which remains a progressive law.
A regulator’s failure to follow the law is never a good reason to change the law. Nor should the law be changed merely because the regulator has woefully failed in its duty to provide opportunities for qualified persons.
Finally, the Council must redirect its energy toward accreditation, quality assurance at the various Faculties, enforcing ethical standards for practicing lawyers, and administering Bar examinations that evaluate technical and ethical competence.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."
Reproduction is authorised provided the author's permission is granted.