Advocates for legal reform education have expressed hope that the nominee for Chief Justice, Justice Anin-Yeboah will be the much-needed savior and sympathiser of their cause.
An advocate for legal education reforms, Nii Adowei Cudjoe, in a Facebook post on Wednesday, expressed cautious optimism that Justice Anin Yeboah will give them a sympathetic ear.
He revealed a system, which critics say frustrates the ambitions of law students, also victimised Justice Yeboah’s son.
Theghanareport.com understands the system denied him admission to the Ghana School of Law, at Makola, after sitting the 2017/2018 entrance examination which Nii Adkwei Cudjoe described as a “lottery.”
Justice Anin-Yeboah’s son had to seek opportunities abroad and gained admission to the Gambia Law School. The Gambia and Ghana are both former colonies of the British empire and, therefore, inherited a similar legal education system.
Justice Anin-Yeboah pending his approval by Parliament is expected to take over from the retiring Justice Sophia Akuffo who was embroiled in a bitter tussle with LLB candidates.
“Any attempt to allow the production of lawyers without efficient control, checks and balances will be rejected irrespective of who is advocating it,” she said.
Not long after, the General Legal Council released results showing only 128 LLB holders had qualified to study professional law courses after an examination written by 1820 in 2019.
It sparked another uproar from students and lecturers frustrated by the constant mass failures. They say the current system is outdated and needs an overhaul.
Only the Ghana School of Law is responsible for the professional training of lawyers and only the University of Ghana offered a Bachelor of Law degree program in Ghana until 2003.
There are now 17 institutions that offer LLB programmes out of which 14 are recognised and certified by the General Legal Council. This rise in LLB institutions without expanding the Ghana School of Law has created a huge backlog of students trying to enter the Ghana School of Law. A competitive entrance examination introduced in 2012 was challenged in the Supreme Court.
A new bill before Parliament wants to, among other objectives, assign quotas to the 14 LLB institutions. But it has been heavily criticised by the movement, to #OpenUpLegalEducation.
They organised a demonstration in October 2019. But it turned violent as police brutalised some protesting students.
Some LLB candidates who spoke to theghanareport.com say they favour Justice Yeboah’s nomination. He lectures part-time at the Ghana School of Law.
Justice Yeboah teaches Civil Procedures and Ghana Legal Systems. He is said to treat his students humanely.
“We have the feeling that he is not part of the clique” one campaigner for reform told theghanareport.com on condition of anonymity.
They do not hold the same view on Justice Dotse, who was also up for nomination as Chief Justice and, who reportedly described the push for legal reforms as ‘populist’ when an injunction application against the entrance examination was sought in 2018.
With Justice Anin Yeboah set for vetting at the Appointments Committee, the campaigners expect his stance on legal education to be keenly scrutinised.