MountCrest University College (MountCrest) has held its 10th matriculation ceremony with a call for an overhaul of Ghana’s legal education system, and the immediate scrapping of the entrance examination for the Ghana School of Law.
Addressing the fresh students at the ceremony which was held online (virtual), Mrs. Irene Ansa-Asare Horsham, the Rector of MountCrest, the first private university in Ghana to run a law faculty, said, “Our system of legal education has, rather than being progressive, become restrictive based on what I consider to be an erroneous notion that we have too many lawyers in Ghana”.
“I respectfully disagree. Not only do we need many more lawyers in Ghana, our system of legal education must also embrace innovative ways of teaching and learning the law and needs to expand as a matter of urgency to include the greater legal profession,” she added.
According to the Rector, Ghana needs qualified graduates that are ‘fit-for-purpose’ to fill the gaping holes in the public sector, in academia, in the administration of justice and management of law practices and train many more academics, parliamentary counsel, legislative draftsmen, paralegals, clerks and interpreters in courts, legally qualified public prosecutors, and career magistrates among others.
She noted that many law students have already chosen different professional paths for which the law degree (LLB) will be an invaluable addition, especially as trained specialists in niche areas that require a multidisciplinary approach.
“Restricting access to legal education is thus a step backwards for our development and that restriction must be removed as a matter of urgency,” she pointed out, and also stressed that, “We at MountCrest believe that the time for an overhaul of our system of legal education is now”.
The first step, she said, is to scrap the entrance examination to the Ghana School of Law immediately because that examination creates a danger of taking away the focus of law faculties from training ethically responsible graduates with a strong sense of good governance and social justice to rather focusing solely on strategies aimed at passing the law school entrance examination at the end of the LLB and in effect produces what she called, “walking encyclopaedias”.
She observed that this approach is insular and regressive and does little to contribute to the socio-economic needs of the country, adding that Ghana needs law graduates who appreciate the importance of ethics, strong research skills in knowing where to find the law and producing more knowledge, and strong practical critical thinking and analytical skills.
She said at MountCrest, the students, from the first week, are introduced to the lifelong skills of finding and applying the law, critical thinking and analysis through the school’s legal writing and practical legal research skills sessions.
The Rector noted that a clinical approach is vital to the preparation students for life. “Your cohort will therefore be the first at MountCrest to engage in our new additional approach to teaching and learning the law through our clinical legal education to be launched later this academic year,” she told the fresh students.