The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina T. Wood, on Friday announced various reforms embarked by the General Legal Council aimed at maintaining and enhancing standards at the bar.
She said this when she swore in 198 persons who were enrolled as newly qualified lawyers at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra. The Chief Justice, who took the newly qualified lawyers through an undertaking, said the council had mandated the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) to register all chambers and law firms in the country.
She said to qualify for the registration, all law firms were expected to have certain basic or minimum facilities considered necessary for legal practice.
“All processes filed in the courts shall bear the registration numbers of the registered firm or chambers to ensure that only registered firms or chambers practice in our law courts.”
Mrs Justice Wood told the lawyers that they were going to be the last group to be trained exclusively at the Ghana Law School.
This, she attributed to the lack of suitable accommodation and the increasing number of applicants.
“This academic year, we shall be teaching professional law courses from three different campuses- the Ghana School of Law, the Faculty of Law Legon and the Faculty of Law, KNUST, Kumasi,” she said.
The Chief Justice said the council had taken measures to avoid pitfalls should there be fears of falling standards in the law profession.
She said there would be one Ghana School of Law and one examining body for professional legal education in the country. She said courses leading to the qualification as a lawyer would continue to be divided into two, namely academic and professional
Mrs Justice Wood said “the initiative for teaching the academic parts of the course rested with the various faculties, the only caveat being that the various institutions must ensure that they meet the standards set by the General legal Council.”
She said campuses would therefore operate under the over all direction of the Board of the GLC as part of the Ghana Law School, with students pursuing the same courses and writing the same examination.
To the newly enrolled lawyers, the CJ urged them to resist all attempts from their clients, friends and relatives to try to influence a judge or magistrate to circumvent the course of justice.
She further tasked them to disabuse their mind of scrambling for material wealth without taking time to learn the rudiments of the practice through pupilage.
Mrs Justice Wood told the new lawyers that corruption, whether grand or petty, was one of the nagging problems in the administration of justice.
She said she was not happy with the attitude of people who raised red flags on corruption, noting that whenever they were asked to produce evidence “they develop cold feet.”
Mrs Justice Wood appealed to the lawyers to build good characters and join the judiciary to help with dispensation of justice.
“Pay close attention to all matters related to the ethics of the profession, so you will leave a worthy legacy for the future generations of lawyers,” she said.
Mr Adobo Etonam was adjudged the overall best student. Other students who distinguished themselves were presented with awards.