Mr. Kwaku Ansa-Asare, the Founder/Rector of Mountcrest University College (MCU), says lawyers must be bold to speak their mind, stand tall and be counted.
Contributing to a symposium marking MCU’s Students Representative Council (SRC) Week at the Kanda Campus in Accra, he advised the law students to be bold and stand up to defend themselves and positively challenge the system without any fear of being sanctioned.
“The reason why we are not making any headway in legal education is that we do not have bold students who will stand up and defend themselves. If questions in examinations do not make sense, refuse to take them and defend your stand”, he said.
The Rector told the students that lecturers in law schools are like their parents and friends who are always there for direction and advice, so students should not be afraid of their lecturers.
Overall, he said reforms were needed in Ghana’s legal system, calling for an overhauling of the Legal Profession Act of 1960 and the scrapping of the General Legal Council. He asked “what do we do with laws that were passed in colonial times?”
He told the students that the time for change has come and they must be the instrument of that change.
Professor George J. Sefa Dei, a professor of Social Justice at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada, said legal education must lead to social transformation. Law students are equipped with critical thinking skills and they must put into practice what they learn.
He, therefore, described as ironic that students trained to be skeptical and to question matters, would acquiesce to an oppressive examination system that is basically a gate keeping process.
Prof. Dei, who is also the Gyasehene (divisional chief) and current Regent of Asokore, in Ashanti, under the stool name of Nana Adusei Sefa Tweneboah, observed that law has historically upheld and protected the interest of those in power (with money and status) and that must change.
He said “lawyers need to become educated on the roots of legal system in Ghana and who it served and who it has the potential to serve. The curriculum should work towards introducing new critical perspectives on law as a tool to achieve social change in ways that attend to local needs, cognizant of global trends, but are not solely dependent on western models”.
He added that “law can be an effective tool to enact social change and address systemic inequities”.