Law Prof challenges Attorney General to save 1,000 law students

United States-based Ghanaian law professor, Stephen Kwaku Asare has challenged the Attor­ney General to act swiftly to save the lives of 1,000 law students whose professional development has been unlawfully curtailed.

He accused the Attorney-General of refusing or failing to respond to a suit he filed at the Supreme Court within the 14 days legal window given to defendants to respond to a law suit.

On October 15, 2015, Prof Asare filed a suit against the General Legal Council (GLC) and the Attorney-General over the way and manner the Ghana School of Law con­ducts its entrance exams and interview for students who want admission into the school.

He argued that the rigid ceiling imposed by the GLC on Bachelor of Law Degree (LLB) holders who would be al­lowed an opportunity to train and become lawyers is grossly unfair and overrides national interest.

“Time is of essence in this writ because the value of the order above declines with time.

“In other words, the lives of 1,000 students depend on the order and we cannot afford the ‘business as usual’ style.

“Each day that the order is not given is one more day that the students have been denied access to professional legal education, which they are entitled to per the laws of this country.

“This is an unusual case. We have accused the General Legal Council of engaging in a constitutional tort.

“Both you and the Attorney-General sit on the Legal Council. Therefore, you must do everything within your power to avoid the appearance that this matter is being de­layed because of your unusual position of being the admin­istrative head of the Supreme Court and Chairman of the GLC,” he said.

Reliefs
He also wants an order directed at the council to within seven days state alternative places and modes of instruc­tion for all persons who have met the determined by the council.

Prof Asare stated that the legal profession should be an open, ethically regulated meritocracy serving the legal needs of Ghana and Ghanaians and not a cartel serving the high priced needs or economic interest of a privileged few.

The plaintiff noted that the Legal Professions Act 32 en­joins the GLC to afford opportunities for students to read and to make arrangement for legal education in a manner deemed fit through the school of law, and said the act states persons who qualify to be admitted to the school and the qualification needed.

He argued that the rigid ceiling process of admission de­tracts the purpose of selecting qualified students as it will pass a student irrespective of his performance, and said such an act is alien to Act 32.

According to him, the council has set up an Independent Examination Board (IEB) to conduct entrance examina­tions and interview, adding that the said responsibility, ac­cording to Act 32, rests with the council, adding that “the holder of discretionary authority cannot delegate.”

Touching on the marks obtained by students who took part in the entrance exam this year, the professor lamented that the threshold disqualifies more than two-thirds of those who have met the admission standards, adding that it is the only school in the world where students do not know the mark they need to obtain in order to pass.

The lecturer contended that too many very good students are being excluded from pursuing the professional compo­nent of their legal education even when they have solid LLB degrees.

The plaintiff consequently wants the court to declare that the council’s use of interviewing is highly subjective and an unreliable mode of examining students, which is not in ac­cordance with the law.

He also wants a declaration that the entrance examina­tions are not recognisable at law and cannot be used as a means to deny students the opportunity to pursue their legal education.


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