Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
The General Legal Council’s (GLC’s) decision to go ahead with the organization of entrance examination for students seeking admission into the Ghana School of Law - in spite of the Supreme Court’s judgment that the process is unconstitutional - is meeting stiff resistance from some prospective law students.
This is because 11 LLB students who are all planning to enter the school have jointly filed a suit against the council, which is the regulator of the training and practise of law in the country, to stop the authorities from conducting the examination on July 14, 2017.
The suit, filed yesterday at the Human Rights Court by the students through their lawyers - Hencil Chambers in Accra - after a petition they sent to the council had not yielded dividends, wants a declaration that “the General Legal Council is a creature of statute i.e. the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (Act 32),” and therefore should obey the order of the court.
They are asking for a further declaration that “as the statutory body responsible for the organization of legal education in Ghana, it comes under a statutory duty under the Legal Profession Act 1960 (Act 32) and the Professional Law Course Regulations 1984 (L.I. 1296) to comply with the terms of the law regarding admission of law graduates into the Ghana School of Law.”
According to the students, the court should also declare that “the passage of L.I. 1296 under the powers conferred on the defendant council by Section 14 of the Legal Professional Act 1960 (Act 32) makes Regulations 2 and 3 (L.I. 1296) the only lawful criteria for admission of the plaintiffs into the Ghana School of Law.”
The lawyers want the court to declare that the plaintiffs and other persons with the requisite qualifications in terms of the law (i.e. Act 32 and L.I. 1296) “automatically qualify for admission into the Ghana School of Law,” and “a declaration that the admission criteria imposed by defendant council in terms of an entrance examination and an interview for admission into the Ghana School of Law since 2015 contravene the provisions of Act 32 and L.I. 1296.”
The students are asking for an order of the court “setting aside the unlawful criteria complained of as illegal and unconstitutional and an infringement upon the plaintiffs’ fundamental human rights enshrined in the 1992 Constitution,” and also a further declaration that “being itself a creature of statute by virtue of the 1992 Constitution and the Courts Act 1993 (Act 459), the court could not fail to take up the issue of illegality arising from breaches by defendant council of Sections 13 and 14 of the Legal Profession Act 1960 (Act 32) and Regulations 2 and 3 of the Professional Law Course Regulations 1984 (L.I. 1296) which had come to its notice.”
They are praying the court to declare that “the courts are the servants of the Legislature and are legally enjoined to pay strict obeisance to statute; allowing the defendant council to administer the entrance examination on Friday, 14th July, 2017 would amount to a grant of immunity from the consequences of breaching Sections 13 and 14 of the Legal Profession Act 1960 (Act 32), Regulations 2 and 3 of the Professional Law Course Regulations, 1984 (L.I. 1296) and Articles 11 (7), 23, 296 (a) and (b) and 297 (b) of the Constitution, 1992.”
According to the plaintiffs, the court should also declare that “the Independent Examinations Board which is to administer the entrance examination on Friday, 14th July, 2017, has no legal right so to do because it is unknown to either the Legal Profession Act 1960 (Act 32) or the Professional Law Course Regulations, 1984 (L.I. 1296).”
They also want an order “prohibiting the so-called Independent Examination Board, a faceless body unknown to Ghanaian Jurisprudence, from administering the entrance examination for admission into the Ghana School of Law, planned to take place on Friday, 14th July, 2017, is irregular, improper, illegal, unconstitutional and a legal nullity.”
According to the plaintiffs, they instituted the action because “they have personal interest either by virtue of the fact that they have been affected by the institution of an entrance examination for admission into the Ghana School of Law by the defendant council and they failed to gain admission or that they are being made to write it (again) even though the entrance examination and interview are both illegal by statute and declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its judgement in June, 2017.”
They said they would contend at the trial that based on the Supreme Court’s order, “the combined effect of Sections 13 and 14 of Act 32 and Regulations 2 and 3 of L.I. 1296 renders introduction of an entrance examination and its attendant selection interview before a qualified law graduate is admitted into the Ghana School of Law illegal and unconstitutional.”