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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the problem facing legal education in Ghana goes beyond brick and mortar.
The President however agrees that there is an urgent need for reforms in the country’s legal education system.
President Akufo-Addo was delivering the keynote address at the opening of an international conference on the future of legal in Ghana/Africa at the University Of Ghana School of Law.
“Some of the arguments about legal education has simply been about numbers. There are those who think that nothing should stand in the way of those who want to study law. Certainly, it is not about the issue of space”, he said.
According to the President, processes for legal education reforms must be fashioned in a way that will not frustrate applicants. Commenting on proposed Bills to that effect, Nana Akufo-Addo maintained that quality and standards in legal education must not be compromised.
“If the search for justice in the cause of law can motivate people to aspire to be lawyers, we should be able to maintain the momentum of these eager minds and not frustrate them.”
“I believe that even if the new legal professions act which is under consideration provides for a multiplicity of law schools to regulate the teaching of the professional examinations to break the monopoly of the General Legal Council in that regard, there can be no substitute for the General Legal Council being responsible for the maintenance of standards in the new system. A reform of the system under which legal education currently operates is necessary to accommodate our current realities. The system we come with would have to be guided by a strong element of sustainability,” Nana Akufo-Addo added.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has assured Parliament’s readiness to ensure an efficient legal framework for legal education in the country.
This was contained in a speech read on his behalf by 1st Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, at the same event.
“Efforts are underway to bring before parliament, the Legal Professions Act to reform the existing legal regime and regulate the practice of the legal professions in Ghana. Let me also use this opportunity to assure Ghanaians, that parliament shall not fail in its parliamentary duty and Article 109 of the Constitution to regulate professional legal training to promote standards, and Parliament shall accordingly scrutinize and debate the Bill thoroughly at the committee and plenary levels. There is also, currently, a Private Member’s Bill on the floor of the House to augment the Legal Professions Act. As Speaker, will ensure that both Bills receive the full attention of Parliament where necessary.”