President Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians not to compromise on quality when it comes to training of lawyers in the country, because a bad lawyer is a danger to society.
“A badly trained lawyer is a danger to society. A badly trained lawyer can cause untold damage to life and property, and a badly trained lawyer will bring the legal profession into disrepute much faster than any revolution,” he charged.
The President continued: “I do not reserve my passion for people being well trained in their profession for only lawyers. I doubt that anyone will argue over an assertion that a badly trained plumber is a veritable danger to society. We need a lot of plumbers, but I am sure nobody will suggest that we should cut corners in the training of plumbers.
“We need a lot of doctors, but I am certain no one will tolerate the concept of a badly trained doctor, or a badly trained engineer or teacher. I suggest we do not try to find a solution to the problem we face by compromising on the quality of the training.”
Addressing the International Conference in Accra yesterday on the future of legal education in Ghana/Africa, President Akufo-Addo said it was his conviction that the General Legal Council (GLC) should have the final say in matters of legal education in the country.
To him, sustainable legal education would have, as its base, the establishment of a regime that would consider the pressing needs of the growing law student population, and the expected demands of the generation unborn that would study law.
“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,” he said.
He revealed that his government was readying itself to put before Parliament a bill to regulate the legal profession.
The Legal Profession Act, when passed, will address the issue of legal education in the country, as he said the existing law, passed over 50 years ago “is no longer fit for purpose.”
According to the President, even if the new Legal Profession Act, which is under consideration, provides for a multiplicity of law schools to regulate the teaching of professional examinations and breaks 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 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 legal profession is a guild, a small club of mostly men, which is difficult to penetrate,” he said.
He was hopeful, though, that the new Legal Profession Act and the various regulations that will result from it will bring the many issues surrounding legal education in Ghana to a fruitful resolution once and for all, at least for this generation.
The Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu and Justice of the Superior Court, Jones Dotse, all spoke at the conference.