This week the struggle by activists to break down the barrier to legal education in Ghana took centre stage in parliament because there is a legislative instrument seeking to legalise the entrance examinations and interviews at the Ghana School of Law.
Access to Justice is a fundamental human rights. There are thousands of Ghanaians especially outside Accra unable to access justice because they cannot find a lawyer. Most of these victims may end up on remand, locked and forgotten.
It is one of the reasons why the country has more than 3,000 people on remand in the prisons across the country.
Private legal practitioner Samson Lardy Ayenini recently observed that in a country of 26 million people, there is slightly more than 2,500 licensed lawyers out of which 2,112 are based in Accra alone.
So just imagine if someone gets into trouble with the law in the Upper West and East, Northern, Volta or even in the Brong Ahafo regions chances of getting a lawyer to represent him/her is close to impossible especially when they happen to be poor and vulnerable.
This explains why the country has a remand prisoner crisis.
In fact, the ratio of lawyers to population stands at 1:80,000 people. Even the Attorney General’s Department is in dire need of lawyers as was revealed by A-G Gloria Akuffo in Upper West this week.
So why is the General Legal Council (GLC) so determined to restrict access to legal education in Ghana?
Connecting on Joy FM’s GhanaConnect is Nii Addokwei Codjoe who has just finished his LLB at the Wisconsin University in Accra. He also speaks for the Presidents of the Association of Law students.
Also joining the discussion is Velma Okyere a level 400 law student at the Central University. James Afedo also has an LLB and is an LSE trained but has spent the last few years trying without success to go to the Ghana Law School.
Lawyer Bernard Owiredu is also connecting with us in the studio. He supports the GLC in its decision to restrict access to the Law School.
On the phone with the Director of the Ghana School of Law, Kwasi Prempeh-Eck, to explain why they remain adamant on this issue of admitting more students.