An anti-establishment push to remove the need for entrance examination into law school, has entered its second phase of resistance.
They want MPs in parliament to throw out a Legislative Instrument to legalise entrance exams declared illegal by the Supreme Court in June 2017.
Standing in their way is the General Legal Council (GLC) keen to ensure that exclusive club of lawyers is not gatecrashed by an army of over 3,000 disappointed wannabe lawyers.
Photo: Professor Kofi Quarshigah
The Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Ghana, Professor Kofi Quarshigah, the poster boy, for the pro-entrance exam movement insists the GLC is clothed with the power to regulate admissions which could include the exams.
But for the de facto leader of the anti-exams revolutionaries Prof. Kwaku Asare, it is not standards that are falling, it is the pride of the GLC which is rising.
“They are just flexing their muscles. They are asking Parliament to bless their illegality”, he screamed on the Joy FM Super Morning Show, Thursday.
Prof. Asare has been saying the GLC “has become too powerful to be concerned about the interest of powerless students”
Prof. Kwaku Asare
He wants the well-read professor of law to go back and read the seminal Supreme Court judgment delivered in June 2017 that granted his movement a historic victory
The court said interview and entrance exams violate Legislative Instrument (L.I) 1296.
The L.I requires an applicant to have passed specific seven subjects during the LLB programme, be of good behavior and should hold an LLB degree in order to be considered for admission into the Ghana School of Law.
He said the court gave the GLC, six months within which to pass an L.I if it wants to legalise its 2012 practice of additional layers of requirements into the Ghana School of Law.
“That six-month window is gone”, Prof. Kwaku Asare declared and puts the date of this missed opportunity at December 22, 2017.
He said the GLC are statutorily bound to admit anyone who meets the requirements set out in L.I 1296.
Professor Kwaku Asare said there is no defect with the L.I which the new L.I seeks to correct.
If the members of the GLC which includes the Chief Justice cannot implement a Supreme Court judgment, the Council should be reconstituted, he pushed another unorthodox view.
He said the about 3,000 LLB holders denied entry into the Ghana School of Law since the 2017, ruling must be automatically admitted to pursue their dream.
The final say in this matter could rest with the 25 MPs who constitute the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament chaired by Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, who has already declared his opposition to the GLC’s new L.I.
He is supported by the ranking member of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs committee of Parliament, Inusah Fuseini, whose committee was petitioned by a group of law students on Wednesday.
He revealed on the Super Morning Show, most members on the two committees side with the protesting law students.
He branded the new L.I as a wheel that does not need to be re-invented. There is an old one still in good shape, L.I 1296, he suggested.
One of the leaders of this group, Ken Donkor, wants the two committees to expedite action to throw out the L.I. To succeed, two-thirds of the 275 MPs must vote against the L.I. The law students are desperate as time is not on their side.
All the hard work of slow litigation since 2015 could all be undone if the L.I is allowed to mature.
If they fail, another legal challenge to get the Supreme Court to explain what it explained in 2017, is most likely.
The L.I before Parliament will mature after 21 sittings. Only five more sittings and the GLC can declare victory for conservatism and dogmatism.