Ghana’s Chief Justice-designate, Ms Sophia Akuffo, has shot down calls for the Ghana School of Law to be scrapped, justifying its place in the country’s legal education system as being important to the practice of law.
She contended at her vetting Friday morning that the various law faculties in the universities offer their students pure theoretical education, hence the need for the Ghana School of Law to be maintained.
“I’m not one of those who subscribe to the Ghana School of Law being scrapped. What happens in the universities at the faculties of law is that they educate people academically on the law as a theory; on knowledge of the law. That is what faculties of laws do.
“The Ghana School of Law is a professional training facility and that is where the theories learnt in classroom are supposed to be taught from a more practical point of view and when that is how it has been,” Justice Akuffo told the 26-member Appointments Committee of Parliament.
A number of seasoned lawyers have advocated the scrapping of Ghana School of Law premising their calls on among others, what they claim has become needless bureaucratic hurdle hindering those who have had their LLM from getting the opportunity to become professional lawyers.
But Justice Sophia Akuffo told members of parliament at her vetting Friday that she does not subscribe to that idea, contending that just like in architecture and medicine, persons who finish their theoretical training are made to go through practical hands-on experience before they are certified to practice.
“So it is a profession and you need to learn to become a professional and at the moment the only institution providing that or authorised to provide that is the Ghana School of Law,” she said.
She however indicated that unless the faculties at the universities are also going to have course that are going to be professional focused, the issue of scrapping the Ghana School of Law should not suffice.
“Many people finish LLB without becoming practicing lawyers,” she noted, adding “When you want to become a lawyer; a professional, then you come to the professional school”.
She said at the School of Law, students are taught more practical subjects like how to draw up a charge as well as how to marshal evidence to support that charge.
“When we were in law school, in fact it was such a seamless transition that some of us actually thought that the Ghana School Law was part of the University of Ghana,” she observed, indicating that the situation has changed over the years.
Justice Akuffo, meanwhile admitted the kind of practical training at the Ghana Law School has not been that much.
She said there have been the beginnings of a reform system to make the law school more practical than it has been over the years, noting that “For the longest time it remained theoretical…Very little hands on practice”.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana