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Opinion | Jul 15, 2018

Matters Arising From Francis Xavier Sosu's Stand-Off With The General Legal Council (GLC)

Matters Arising From  Francis Xavier Sosu's Stand-Off With The General Legal Council (GLC)

Having been found guilty by the General Legal Council (GLC) for touting and overcharging a client, Francis Xavier Sosu, was banned for 3 years from practicing as a Lawyer, in addition to a year's mentorship by a senior lawyer after the 3 years suspension.

Francis Xavier Sosu appealed the decision of the GLC to the Human Rights Division of the High Court.

The Court, in its ruling delivered on 11th July, 2018, upheld the applicant's claim that his human rights had been violated by the GLC's ban imposed on 1st June, 2017.

A former President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), and currently a member of the Council of State, Sam Okudzeto, and also a member of the GLC Disciplinary Committee, argued that only the Supreme Court has power to overturn the decisions of the GLC, since in his view, the GLC is stocked with Supreme Court judges, therefore, "it is impossible for a High Court to overturn its decisions".

Under section 21 of the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (Act 32), it is provided that: "Where the Disciplinary Committee on the conclusion of an inquiry into a disciplinary case has directed the taking of disciplinary measures or has postponed its decision under section 20 of this Act, the lawyer into whose conduct the inquiry was made or the complainant into whose complaint the inquiry was made may, within 21 days from the date on which the decision of the Disciplinary Committee is communicated to him by the Committee, appeal to the Court of Appeal".

There is no provision in Act 32, which stipulates that where Supreme Court Judges (Justices), are members of the GLC Disciplinary Committee, the only Court to appeal a decision of the GLC Disciplinary Committee to, is the Supreme Court.

In addition, it appears that Francis Xavier Sosu's lawyer erred, by appealing the decision of the GLC Disciplinary Committee to the Human Rights Division of the High Court, instead of the Court of Appeal as stipulated under section 21 of Act 32.

Even though the 1992 Constitution vests the High Court with exclusive jurisdiction in all matters relating to the enforcement of fundamental Human Rights, the appropriate forum for Francis Xavier Sosu, should have been the Court of Appeal, since it was a decision of the GLC Disciplinary Committee, he was appealing against.

A separate action for a violation of his fundamental Human Rights, could have been instituted at the Human Rights Division of the High Court, if his appeal to the Court of Appeal, was successful.

Alhassan Salifu Bawah
(son of an upright peasant farmer)

Alhassan Salifu Bawah
Alhassan Salifu Bawah, © 2018

This author has authored 87 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: AlhassanSalifuBawah

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