Court to rule on GBA case today

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
Court to rule on  GBA case today
Court to rule on GBA case today

The Human Rights Division of the High Court will today, decide whether or not to dismiss a suit filed against the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) over its upcoming national conference.

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) is praying the High Court dismiss a suit challenging its request to members to pay conference fees aside from being members in good standing, before they can be allowed to vote in its upcoming conference.

A member of the GBA, Mr Felix S. Y. Ntoso, sued the association over a fiat that members who have made payment for the 2018 Annual Bar Conference, paid their dues and have valid licences would be allowed to vote at the conference.

According to the applicant, the GBA’s inclusion of payment of dues as one of the criteria for voting was inconsistent with the provisions of its constitution.

But the GBA has since entered appearance, filed its defence and a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit on the grounds of being frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court’s process.

At the court’s sitting in Accra yesterday, the presiding judge, Mrs Gifty Agyei Addo, fixed the date after counsels for the parties argued their cases.


Dismiss case

Moving the application for the dismissal of the case, Mr Beyuo prayed the court to consider the case of the applicant as it has been pleaded.

He said the court should also examine if the phrase “lawyer in good standing” had been defined in the GBA Constitution and if that turns out in the affirmative, the court should proceed to describe the applicant’s case as frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court’s process.

According to counsel, the plaintiff’s case was frivolous and did not deserve to proceed on trial because there were no triable issues.

Applicant’s case

Counsel for the applicant, Mr Louis Kudjoe Blewusi, disagreed with the GBA’s arguments and insisted the constitution of the GBA was being flouted.

He further argued that his client had raised triable issues which needed to be considered on their merit.

Mr Blewusi said although attending the conference was voluntary, members of the GBA in good standing had every right to vote.

He added that the GBA constitution described paid-up members as those who had a valid licence to practise and had paid their annual dues to date.

Mr Ntoso argued that should the defendant be allowed to go on with that plan, many members of the GBA would be disenfranchised.

Opposition

But an affidavit in opposition to Mr Ntoso’s suit, deposed to on behalf of the GBA by its National Secretary, Mr Justin Agbeli Amenuvor, indicated that the plaintiff’s action was without merit because the decision of the defendant that only members, who were in good standing would be allowed to vote at the Annual General Conference was consistent with Article 22, clause 4 of the GBA’s Constitution.

Mr Amenuvor deposed that in May 2018, the GBA circulated an email to its members, the notice of the arrangements for the holding of the 2018/2019 Annual General Conference to be held in Koforidua and repeated it in July 2018.

According to the affidavit in support, the GBA, after publishing a third notice in the Daily Graphic, had gone ahead to “prepare at very heavy cost to hold the Annual General Conference including the election of National Officers. Invitations to the dignitaries to attend the Conference, including the President of the Republic of Ghana and the Chief Justice of Ghana have been sent out and these dignitaries have confirmed their attendance.”

The GBA is, therefore, arguing that it would suffer irreparable hardship if the court grants the plaintiff’s application.

Writer’s email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.