A 7-member panel of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Jones Dotse on Friday expressed its willingness and eagerness to determine the case instituted against the General Legal Council (GLC) by the US based lawyer, Professor S. Kwaku Asare, challenging the constitutionality of the selection methods and criteria used in the admission of LLB holders who desire to acquire licenses to practice law in Ghana.
The panel expressed its displeasure at claims that they have been slow in deciding the case because 4 senior members of the Court are on the GLC while assuring the parties that it was ready and able to do justice in this cause.
The 4 members who are on the GLC are not part of the panel. On October 15, 2015, Prof Asare filed a suit against the GLC and the Attorney-General over the way and manner the Ghana School of Law conducts its entrance exams and interviews for law students who want admission into the professional programme.
Among others, he alleged that the GLC’s entrance exams and interviews violate Articles 11(7), 297(d), 297(b), 296(a)(b), 23 and 18(2) of the 1992 Constitution.
The plaintiff also alleged that Regulation 3 of LI 1296 was unconstitutional for being void-for-vagueness.
While the Court’s rules required the AG and GLC to have responded by October 29, 2015, they responded on January 28, 2016 and April 14, 2016 respectively.
Curiously, neither party suffered any consequence for this delay.
In response to the delayed defenses, the plaintiff, pursuant to a live granted by the Court, filed an amended statement of case on June 15, 2016.
On 28th July 2016, the Court denied the plaintiff’s application to stop the GLC from holding the 2016 entrance examination. Notwithstanding the denial of the injunction, the substantive case was not called till today.
When the panel sat today, the GLC claimed that it had not been served with the plaintiff’s amended statement of case filed in June 2016 while the AG claimed it was in the process of filing an amended defense.
Curiously, rather than finding out from the Court’s registrar why the GLC had not been served and dismissing the AG’s flippant excuse that it was in the process of responding to an amended case filed 8 months ago, the presiding Judge ordered all the parties (GLC, AG and the APPLICANT) to clean up their records and also sanitize the records in the court.
All parties are also to ensure that they serve each other with all necessary documents and file a joint memorandum of issues.
It is worth stating that parties file their cases and pay for the other parties to be served. Thus, they are not responsible for serving the other parties. Even more curious, the case was adjourned sine die rather than with firm timelines on when the case will be decided.
The Panel members acknowledged the importance of the issues raised by the case and the public interest in seeing a quick resolution.
Unfortunately, the Court’s failure to query the Registrar on the GLC’s claim that it had not been served and to set a clear timeline for the resolution of the case will only fuel speculation that justice is being delayed and denied.
Certainly, given the importance of the case and the number of law students affected, it should not take more than 20 months to resolve.