The 499 law students who were denied entry into the Ghana School of Law (GSL) will be admitted, as the General Legal Council (GLC) has agreed to do so following an order from the Attorney General to that effect.
This was revealed on Wednesday, 17 November 2021, by the lawyer for the 499 students, following a meeting between the representatives of the aggrieved students and their lawyer; representatives from the GLC and the Attorney General (AG).
According to the lawyer for the 499 students, Mr Martin Akpebu, although the GLC has agreed to admit the students, they are yet to be informed about the start date for their admission.
Speaking to the media, Mr Akpebu noted that the admission will be “subject to some modalities as to when these students will commence the course.”
He said: “The subcommittee of the GLC that we met this evening will go back and report on the contents of these deliberations we have had.”
The students had withdrawn their lawsuit against the AG and the GLC prior to this meeting.
Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame on Wednesday, 11 November 2021, directed the General Legal Council (GLC) to admit the 499 students who were denied entry into the GSL.
According to the AG, the students are either to be admitted to the GSL this November or in May 2022.
However, the AG recommended that the GLC ensure that both sets of students are called to the bar in the next two years.
The 499 students were refused admission despite scoring 50 per cent of the overall mark, which is the required pass mark.
The National Association of Law Students (NALS) presented a petition to the legislature on the matter.
The petition, among other things, pleaded with parliament to intervene and ask the General Legal Council and the management of the law school to immediately reverse the decision and admit the students.
On Friday, 29 October 2021, parliament resoundingly voted in support of a motion filed by Majority Chief Whip Alexander Afenyo-Markin to compel the GLC to admit all students who had passed the entrance exam per the advertised rules of the examination.
The Minority Chief Whip, Mr Muntaka Mubarak, seconded the motion.
Following the resounding vote in support of the motion, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joe Osei-Owusu, directed the GLC to “proceed and admit all the students who passed in accordance with the advertised rules of the examination.”
But responding to parliament’s directive, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in a statement, said: “While recognising the general legislative powers of parliament in Ghana, except as have been circumscribed by the constitution, I am constrained to advise that parliament is devoid of power through the use of Parliamentary resolution, to control the process of admission into the Ghana School of Law. The mode of exercising legislative power enshrined in article 106 of the constitution does not admit of resolutions.”
The statement said: “In accordance with section 13(1)(e) and (f) of the Legal Professional Act, 1960 (Act 32), the power to regulate the admission of students to pursue courses of instruction leading to qualification as lawyers and to hold examinations which may include preliminary, intermediate and final examinations has been vested in the General Legal Council.”
According to the AG, it is rather the executive that has the right to direct the GLC to admit the 499 applicants and not the legislature.
The minority in parliament, therefore, made attempts to pass a censure vote on the AG for failure to admit the students as directed by the Legislature.
They were reported to have gathered enough signatures to begin the process.
A vote of censure is a vote of no confidence.