The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that a reform of the system, under which legal education currently operates in Ghana, is necessary to accommodate current realities, adding that the new system should be will have to be girded by a strong element of sustainability.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “Sustainable legal education will have, as its base, the establishment of a regime that will consider the pressing needs of the growing law student population and the expected demands of the generation unborn that will study law. It will be qualitative in its operation, but with a fair and balanced quantitative selection system”.
He also stressed that “it must also streamline the regulatory dualism between the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission and the General Legal Council when it comes to legal education. I have to restate my conviction that the General Legal Council must have the final say. “
The President made this known on Monday, 29th November 2011, when he delivered a speech at the International Conference on the Future of Legal Education in Ghana/Africa, held at the Auditorium of the University of Ghana School of Law, Legon, Accra.
He indicated that he has already asked the Attorney-General to fast-track the balance of consultations on the Legal Profession Bill, and lay it before Cabinet and, ultimately, Parliament as soon as possible for enactment.
“This Bill aims to address comprehensively the issues of legal education in Ghana today. It must dispel the notion that the legal profession is a guild, a small club of mostly men, which is difficult to penetrate”, he said.
President Akufo-Addo, nonetheless, indicated that even if the new Legal Profession Act, which is under consideration, provides for a multiplicity of law schools to regulate the teaching of the professional examinations, and 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”.
He was hopeful, though, that new Legal Profession Act and the various Regulations, that will result from it, “will bring the many issues surrounding legal education in Ghana to fruitful resolution once and for all, at least for this generation”.
Whilst reiterating his belief in opening up the opportunities in legal education, President Akufo-Addo stated that there should be no compromise on quality.