One of the President’s nominees to the Supreme Court, Professor Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey, has called for the withdrawal of the accreditation of all institutions offering legal education in the country, including the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana.
He said the withdrawal of the accreditation would provide an avenue for the appropriate authorities to scrutinise the institutions to ensure that they had the requirements to offer proper legal education.
He said his call was premised on the fact that many law students lacked an appreciation of the law.
Answering questions before the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) yesterday, Prof. Kotey said at the last interview conducted at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana to give admission to lawyers who had applied to pursue master’s degree programmes, it appeared that students with law degrees could not answer basic questions in law.
For instance, he said, they could not tell the requirements of a valid contract and could not tell what a lease was.
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"Lawyers could not discuss a single case in Constitutional Law, to the extent of having no idea of the 31st December case and more," he lamented.
Prof. Kotey, who is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, said if the institutions that offered legal education were compelled to improve their tuition, it would create the opportunity to produce quality and qualified legal practitioners.
His call was in response to a question by the Minority Leader and Ranking Member on the ACP, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, on what the country could do to improve legal education.
Prof. Kotey urged the public to stop pestering the Supreme Court with lost cases at the Court of Appeal, saying that people should be satisfied, after going to the Court of Appeal, that they had lost their cases.
Mr Justice Samuel Kofi Marful-Sau
An Appeal Court Judge and nominee to the Supreme Court, Mr Justice Samuel Kofi Marful-Sau, who also appeared before the ACP, called for the capping of the number of Supreme Court judges at 15.
"Capping it at 15 is reasonable. It can take up the special needs of the people," he said.
He said some jurisdictions should be taken away from the Supreme Court to allow it to perform its core mandate.
For instance, he said, the Supreme Court could give its supervisory powers to the High Court, so that the Supreme Court could concentrate on enforcement, interpretation, review jurisdictions, election petitions and appeals brought properly after leave had been sought.
Mr Justice Marful-Sau urged Parliament to pass the Spousal Rights Bill to deal with the distribution of jointly acquired property.
"I have written a series of judgements and lamented over what should constitute marital property and what should not," he said.
He said it was difficult to quantify the contribution of women to the acquisition of a property and, therefore, the law was needed to clarify issues.
"We must recognise the contribution of our mothers, but how do we quantify their assistance? That is where we are coming from. Not having legislation is a problem," he said.