Law exam failures: Kpebu punches GLC over retrospective application of rule

Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, has criticised the General Legal Council (GLC) for applying a rule it set after the 2020/2021 law school entrance examination.

Mr Kpebu stated that the GLC which is made up of best of the best lawyers in the country is aware that retrospective application of rules or orders have very limited space in Ghana hence, they should not have applied it in the examination.

His comments come after two thousand LLB candidates who sat for the 2020/2021 academic year Ghana School of Law 2021 Entrance Exams failed in the exams.

Students from the various law faculties across the country who sat for the exam, only 790 of them passed representing approximately 28% while the failure represents 72%.

The GLC, the body in charge of legal education in Ghana has come under firefor this development especially it applied a new requiring candidates to pass 50% in each of the two sections A and B in the exam, a rule did not exist prior to the examination.

Speaking on the Key Points onTV3/3FM on Saturday October 9 with Dzifa Bampoh, Mr Kpebu said “I am hoping that they will do the needful.

“…It is quite embarrassing but it is part of our development process so now that they are coming under  a lot of heat  I am sure they will do the needful.”

The GLC has been petitioned by the Student Represntative Council of the Law School to relook into this matter.

Regarding the petition, Mr Kpebu said “The petition, as far as I understand  was presented a few days ago  so let us give at least a week  then we will see whether they will do the needful because it is quite embarrassing.

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“It is shocking that a candidate must pass both section A and B  was not introduced before they went into the exams. For us as lawyers  it is quite a bit tacky that  the best of lawyers in the country  will sit and then introduce the rule  after the exams, it  doesn’t look tidy at all  but because the petition is before them we will want to be a  bit circumspect and expect that they do the needful.

“The best of the best sit on the GLC and yet this simple thing that  we know, you can’t make a rule after  the event  and ask that the rule should retrospectively affect  the event, no. So far, in our constitution it is only when it comes to public finances that is when it is allowed that   the government can spend ahead and then later  go to parliament for a budget appropriation bill  to be passed to make it legal .

“Besides that, it is not the norm to  pass a rule after the event , so I am sure they will look at it  otherwise it will make them look bad.”

For his part, a former Deputy Attorney General, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, lamented the knee-jerk approach to resolving issues relating to the law school entrance examination that lead to mass failures.

According to him, there have not been concrete steps taken to resolving these issues that come up yearly.

Contributing to this development, Mr Joseph Kpemka Dindiok told Dzifa Bampoh on the Key Points that “I have had opportunity of serving the General Legal Council (GLC) as Deputy Attorney General, the nominee of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General .  I have made my inputs on this matter.

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“It is unfortunate, all we do is that when this issue comes up yearly, we make all the noise after a week or two,  that is the end of it. We wait, it comes again the following year, we make noise, after a week or two, it goes. There are no concrete steps put in place to nip this in the bud once and for all as a nation.

““The conversation seem to be one of a knee-jerk reaction to the release of results rather than a long term lasting solution  that ought to be found without delay in  this particular matter.

“I have heard the students make their compliant. It is true, the majority of us  lawyers today did not go through what they are going through , it is act  probably because of numbers  those days.  I recall that when I finished my  LLB progrmme , the published the results  and I walked to the Law School and filled the form and took my admission letter, that was all that happened. There was nothing like entrance exams or interview.”

Some lawmakers and observers have also criticised the GLC over this matter.

For instance, South Danyi Member of Parliament, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor 499 out of the 1289 law students who failed the entrance should have been admitted.

He said “A further release by the GLC of all exams results after public pressure would suggest that  1289 examinees met the minimum pass requirement of 50% in keeping with the known pass standard for all previous entrance exams conducted by the GLC.

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“It is most bizarre therefore that 499 of the 1289 have not been considered eligible for admission into the GSL when indeed they scored a minimum of 50% or better.

“In attempt to explain this inconsistency of not admitting the 499 students, the GLC, through its director further released a notice on its Notice Board, setting out what clearly is an afterthought, and setting out an est post facto rationalization of the inconsistency. In the said notice, the director purports to set a previously unknown new standard of a pass of 50% in each of the two sections A and B in the exam.”

A former Director of the Ghana School of Law, Professor Kwaku Ansa Asare,  also chastised the GLC for this development.

In the view of Prof Asare, the GLC lacks the competence to supervise any body to conduct entrance examination into the Ghana School of Law.

“Quite a number of them do not appear to understand and appreciate legal education. Most of them know next to nothing about legal education. The body, the General Legal Council, should have been scrapped soon after Ghana attained Republican Status.

“They should establish a National Council of Legal education to be made up of people who have the expertise,” Prof Asare said.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana