Professor Kwame Frimpong, the Founding Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) has called on the General Legal Council (GLC) and National Accreditation Board to initiate reforms in the country’s legal education.
He said this is to ensure that the entire professional programme is run by the individual institutions instead of completing it at the Ghana School of Law (GSL). He said the reform has become necessary because the current educational system under the GLC was unsustainable.
He said the system in which Literally Legum Baccalaureus (LLB) holders from tertiary institutions, such as the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology would have to complete an additional programme at the GSL before they could be certified as lawyers was untenable.
Speaking at the inauguration of the UPSA Faculty of Law, Prof Frimpong said Law Faculties should be restructured to run the whole legal programme while a Bar Examination should be established and supervised by the GLC to certify those who would pass legal qualification examination.
He said the existing structure of the Law School was restrictive and was not able to admit more LLB holders to study for the additional programme. He refuted the notion that the law profession would be bereft of quality, but be full of half-baked practitioners, if such powers were given to law faculties to offer the entire programme.
“The country does not have many lawyers as proclaimed by some people, always, rather there are few lawyers,” Prof Frimpong said. “This is because the number of lawyers does not match up with the population of the country and the real practising lawyers are few,” he said.
He said the Bar Examination to be established would ensure that quality lawyers were certified after they had passed, while the GLC would monitor their activities.
Prof Joshua Alabi, the outgoing Vice Chancellor of the UPSA, tasked the Faculty to work towards becoming independent of the Ghana School of Law to certify its own students.
He said the UPSA had over the years proved its worth by performing exceptionally in administering professional courses that produced quality human resources.
Prof Alabi, whose tenure comes to an end on December 31, 2016, stated that the UPSA had chalked a lot of successes, including becoming the only university in Africa, which offered a Master’s Programme in Audit and Quality Control Management.
Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Consulting Director of UPSA Centre for Public Accountability, who chaired the function hailed the University for establishing the Faculty of Law.
He appealed to UPSA Management to strengthen the Faculty to make it more competitive. Mr Kan-Dapaah also urged the nation’s universities to strengthen their accountability mechanism to curb corruption.