A Ghanaian attorney based in Washington DC, United States, Prof. Kweku Azaa, has called for what he describes as positive action against the General Legal Council, which he accuses of systematizing deliberate mass failures of students who take the Ghana Bar Exam.
In reaction to the latest round of mass failures, Prof. Azaa, who is also a Professor of Accounting said the frustrating turn of events calls for a ridding of the General Legal Council, which he describes as being made up of archaic and incompetent people.
“The first thing to do is to get rid of the General Legal Council; it is populated by people who have no idea as to what it means to educate people,” Prof. Azaa said.
As to how to get rid of the body headed by the Chief Justice herself, Prof. Azaa called for a boycotting of the Law course at the various Universities and a boycott of the Ba Exams itself.
“We should just stop the talking, every year we come and talk about the same issue. It is time for positive action. The National Union of Ghana Students should get involved. I will recommend that when Ghana School of Law reopens, nobody should show up, secondly when the Law faculty opens nobody should show up. If nothing is done, NUGS can help their fellow students by boycotting their classes.
“The Ghana Bar Association, if it has any modules, should lay down their tools. This has gone on for five years, we have a situation where every year many young people are being turned away, they have the money to study, they are able to study, they have qualified to study but because of incompetence at the General Legal Council they are constantly turned away,” he said.
His comments comes as part of a chorus of protests that has greeted the latest round of what is largely seen as deliberate mass failure of students who took the Bar Exams.
Out of a total of 1,820 students who sat for entrance exams, only 128 passed. Interestingly, these students had passed the most critical exams which led to their obtaining their first degrees and LLBs.
Protesting voices have included that of Ken Kuranchie, Convener for the Coalition for the Reformation of Legal Education In Ghana
“Ghana’s population currently stands at about 30 million give or take, now, if you were to do a ratio, lets say one lawyer, is to 1,000 people, which means that lawyer would be a very loaded person. We are talking about Ghana needing in excess of over 30,000 lawyers. The population of lawyers stands at less than 4,000. So you realize that there is the need for lawyers.”
According to him, the practical effects of lack of lawyers is the reason there are so many innocent people on remand in various cells across the country while the Attorney General lacks lawyers to prosecute corruption cases.
As the latest round of mass failures comes two months after Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo had stated emphatically while addressing the Bench, Bar and Faculty in July that she would not superintend over the mass production of lawyers, Prof. Kweku Azaa faulted the mass failures on the Chief Justice and the General Legal Council.
According to him, the Chief Justice did not write any entrance exams before becoming a lawyer and there fore has no business foisting entrance exams on young people.
He dismissed the Chief Justice’ position that making the Bar exams flexible tantamounts to setting up the Law school to mass produce lawyers.
“The Chief Justice did not take any entrance exams, other people did not take entrance exams, does that mean they are low quality? This notion that somebody is advocating for the mass production of lawyers, that is just a red herring, that is just a myth. Nobody in their right sense will advocate for the mass production of lawyers. All we are asking for is that people who have law degrees be given the opportunity to show that they can qualify to be lawyers, it is something that is done everywhere in the world. If you have a law degree, LLB, then you should be able to apply to take some kind of Bar examination, the Bar examination will test your competence and if you pass, then you qualify as a lawyer
“That is what we used to do in Ghana before they started this 2012 idea of entrance exams and interviews, and when they started this entrance exams and interviews, it had nothing to do with mass production of lawyers, it had something to do with strategic inertia, that did not make them anticipate the growth in the number of people who will apply to be lawyers.” Dr. Kweku Azaa said the failure of the Ghana Law school to anticipate and prepare to accommodate more people has led to a small Law school size, with the General Legal Council, doing a balancing act of deliberately failing students just to whittle down numbers.