The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Madina Constituency, Mr Francis-Xavier Sosu, has said going to the law school is a constitutional right for applicants who qualify and not a privilege for a select few.
The MP’s comments follow the current debate going on with regard to admissions into the Ghana School of Law (GSL).
In a tweet, the MP, who is also a human rights lawyer, stated: “Law School is not a privilege, it is a constitutional right for every qualified Ghanaian.”
He also emphasised: “Articles 37 and 38 of our Constitution require the state to provide adequate educational facilities to guarantee equal access and opportunities to lifelong education without limits.”
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice had said parliament has no power to direct the General Legal Council (GLC) to admit some 499 candidates who sat and passed the Ghana School of Law entrance examination.
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.
Meanwhile, the Madina MP, together with the MP for South Dayi Constituency, Mr Rockson-Nelson Dafiamekpor, have initiated a private member’s bill to have the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, and other Justices of the Supreme Court, removed from the General Legal Council (GLC).
The two NDC MPs, in a letter dated October 26, 2021, addressed to the Clerk of parliament headlined “Private Member’s Bill,” is seeking an amendment to legal education provisions.
According to the letter, the bill is to amend the Legal Profession Act 1960, Act 32 to exclude the Chief Justice as well as other Supreme Court Justices from the GLC.
“This is to redefine the functions of the GLC and provide for reforms in Legal Education, such that accredited facilities of law with requisite facilities would be licensed to run professional law courses in the country,” the letter said.