Bagbin Chides CJ, GLC
Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has slammed the Chief Justice and the General Legal Council for recent scuffles on legal education in the country.
The veteran lawmaker says the regulators’ handling of the law students’ complaints about the challenges with legal education shows that they are clearly out of touch with reality.
“They are behaving like the colonial era…” Bagbin said on JoyNews’ PM Express programme last Tuesday. According to Bagbin, the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, and members of the GLC had it easy during their time which is why they cannot relate to the challenges of the current crop of law students.
Speaking to Evans Mensah on the show, Mr. Bagbin called for drastic changes to the legal education system to address the widespread concerns. Not all the law faculties in the country can offer professional legal training.
After students acquire their bachelor’s degree, LLB, they have to sit for an entrance examination into the Ghana School of Law. However, a host of LLB holders have fallen short of gaining admission.
The 2019 figures show that only 128 out of 1,820 who sat for the entrance exam passed and gained admission, representing 93% failure. This, the Deputy Speaker and others have referred to as the failure of the system and not a reflection of weak students.
The success rate at the Bar exams is no different. More than 90% of the 727 students who wrote that exam failed, sparking agitation among the students. A protest march by the law students earlier this month was marred by the police who sprayed them with water from canons and fired rubber bullets to disperse them.
The Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo who is the Chairperson of the General Legal Council which regulates legal education says they are simply upholding standards.
Responding to calls to open up the legal education space, Akuffo said she won’t superintend the mass production of lawyers. Mr. Bagbin has, however, described this as an emotional response, arguing that mass production and quality are not mutually exclusive.
He joined calls for reforms which would among others; allow the law faculties to offer the professional training themselves instead of all the LLB holders converging to write one entrance exam.
The centralised check, he said can be effected when they all take one bar exam. This, he said would encourage professionals like bankers and MPs to read law since knowledge of the law is salient to their work.