Parliament has adopted the Subsidiary Legislation Committee’s recommendations for the Legal Profession Regulations 2017 amid protests from Minority MPs.
Among notable changes to the LI, the Subsidiary Legislation Committee recommended that the Ghana Legal Council should not be allowed to conduct interviews for entrants into the Ghana School of Law.
The Committee, however said the entrance examinations for admission into the school would continue.
Despite the seeming compromise, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, said he was still in opposition to the legislation.
He continued his opposition today [Friday] in Parliament and per Standing Order 113 of Parliament, a member has the right to challenge a vote and request for a head count or a division, which Mr. Muntaka wanted to do.
But he was left on his feet for about 20 minutes after being ignored by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye.
Oquaye acting worse than Idi Amin, Mobutu
After proceedings, the Minority Chief Whip voiced his displeasure to the media by describing Prof. Oquaye as a dictator and comparing him to despots like Uganda’s Idi Amin and the DR Congo’s Mobutu Sese Seko.
“I keep repeating that civil society should be interested in how the Speaker is conducting himself. It is so terrible… We have rules. As for listening to us, you listen, make your ruling and if we want to challenge your ruling, we know what to do. But to deliberately and continuously do what he is doing, I think he is the biggest threat to our democracy.”
“The way he is behaving, I think that all of us need to be very concerned and very worried about the way the Speaker is conducting himself… I doubt whether even Mobutu or even Idi Ami can be behaving the way he did. It is so shameful that Speaker continues to do this and just disregard the rules of the House.”
Mr. Muntaka further maintained that more MPs were against the approval of the Legal Profession Regulations.
“I am super convinced that those for ‘No’ won and we wanted to confirm that beyond any reasonable doubt by having a headcount. If you have a head count, it puts the thing beyond doubt.”
Opposition to L.I. by law students
The Association of Law Students on January 29, 2018 petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo to cause the withdrawal of the controversial Legal Profession Regulations 2017 from Parliament.
The Association wants the President to impress on Members of Parliament to vote against the regulation.
The General Legal Council laid the Regulations in Parliament in mid-December 2017, in response to a Supreme Court order for a clear admission procedure into the Ghana School of Law, and call to the Ghana Bar.
The proposed LI in question, among other things, states that the General Legal Council will conduct an entrance exam for the admission of students to the school, and conduct interviews for all applicants who pass the Ghana School of Law Entrance Examination.
The LI is expected to become Law this month, February, 2018.
But the law students maintain that if the document is passed in its current form, it will restrict access to legal education.
Law School SRC angry after over 80% fail exams
The Student’s Representative Council [SRC] of the Ghana School of Law, recently called for the school’s Independent Examinations Board to be scrapped, describing it as a threat to legal education in Ghana, after only 91 of the over 500 students passed the May exams in 2017.
Protocol dictates that these students re-sit the exams, but the SRC has demanded that the results are scrapped, to allow the students to proceed with their six-month internship in March.
Almost 300 students are to repeat the entire course, whilst 170 students would have to be referred.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana
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