Accra, Sept. 30, GNA - Lawyers have been tasked to strive to build good reputation by upholding the truth to their clients, courts and the entire nation, Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Chief Justice, said on Friday.
"A good reputation is the greatest asset that a lawyer can acquire for himself; when you build a good reputation you can reach the pinnacle of this profession," he said.
Mr Justice Acquah was speaking when he administered the oath of allegiance to 86 newly enrolled lawyers including 13 females at the Ghana School of Law in Accra. The occasion coincided with the beginning of a new legal year of the courts.
"Your general appearance and conduct in court must be above reproach. Human nature being what it is, the manner in which you behave in court has a great impact on how the judge, your client and the public assess you," Mr Justice Acquah said.
The Chief Justice further asked the newly enrolled lawyers not to attempt to bribe or influence any judge saying: "If you do that you are undermining the administration of justice and your own livelihood." He said as lawyers they had the duty to abide by the ethics of the their profession stressing that "you must endeavour to be conversant with the code of ethics of the Bar so as to conduct yourself well". Mr Justice Acquah said the lawyers had the obligation to the society, the legal profession, the court and the administration of justice, their clients and themselves.
"This requires that you should be conversant with the Constitution of Ghana and be willing at all times to use your professional skills and experiences to promote democracy and the rule of law." On their obligation to the administration of justice, the Chief Justice urged them to be fully prepared when attending court, saying it was in this way that they would be of assistance not only to the court but also to their clients.
Mr Justice Acquah recalled situations where lawyers used their health to seek adjournment when they were not in fact sick. He was of the view that lawyers must be able to inform their client about their inability to handle some cases stressing "there is nothing wrong with telling a client that you cannot handle his or her case because of your limited expertise". He said there was nothing more painful to a client than to be disappointed by his lawyers, either in the preparation of documents or appearance in court.
Mr Justice Acquah, who is also the chairman for the General Legal Council, asked lawyers to charge reasonable fees, saying some of the complaints the Council had received included the high level of fees and extortion.
The Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes and Mr Ayikoi Otto, Minister of Justice and Attorney General took turns to present certificates to the newly enrolled lawyers. Mr Vanboven Swanzy-Essien swept five awards including the overall best student while Miss Joyce Ofei Asiedu also took five awards.