Latest results released by the Independent Examinations Committee of the General Legal Council Professional Law Course Examination (Bar Exams) made shocking revelations of massive failure of students.
According to the results, only 64 students, representing 12.1% of the 525 who sat for the examinations, passed and are eligible for six months of tutelage.
This number is far lower than the 91 students who passed the exams last year, which sparked rage in the country.
284 Students, representing 54%, failed
A total of 284 students, which constitutes 54% of those who took the professional law examinations last year, are to repeat the entire programme because they failed.
177 Students, representing 33.7%, referred
Another 177 students, representing 33.7%, were referred in various papers.
These were in the results released by the Independent Examinations Committee of the General Legal Council yesterday, February 19, 2019.
Information indicates that the students failed mostly in Family Law, Evidence and Advocacy.
The papers included Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Company and Commercial Practice, Law Practice Management, Legal Accountancy, Evidence and Interpretation, as well as Conveyancing and Drafting.
Per the rules, students who are referred in one or two courses will have to take a resit.
However, students who fail in all 10 papers will have to take the entire two-year course again.
The results indicate that only 64, representing 3.2% out of the 2,000 Bachelor of Laws (LLB) students, passed the professional examinations, not to even practice but to embark on an additional six months of tutelage.
450 Out of 2,000 LLB graduates to take professional education
Only about 450 out of 2,000 LLB graduates are deemed ready to proceed to take the professional education.
Critics of the entrance exams say the mass failure at the Bar exams is just one example of why the status quota must be abolished.
Prof Asare says it is an indictment on GLC
Chief crusader against the negative developments in legal education, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare described the massive failures as an indictment on the General Legal Council, the body that oversees legal education and profession in Ghana.
He lamented that after more than 10 years of education, millions of cedis of investment and thousands of hours of tuition to secure only 3.2% pass and become eligible for tutelage is unacceptable.
“Here is what I know. If you exported the 2,000 students to any jurisdiction, other than Ghana, over 70% of them will successfully qualify as lawyers in a shorter time. So the problem, at least at its core, cannot lie with the students.
“If our leaders don’t see this as a problem, then I don’t know what they see it as,” he added.
Dissolve GLC – Prof Asare
Prof Asare wants the GLC dissolved and replaced by a National Council for Legal Education.
“We need to change the current approach and replace it with a three-year post-Bar degree that qualifies everyone to sit for the Bar examination,” he stressed.
The present school fees per year is GH₵13,500.
Some students believe that the results demonstrate that the present curriculum, as presently modified, has contributed to the deteriorating nature of the supposedly ‘quality’ students that are admitted, and must be scrapped and the old formulae restored.
They also argue that the Bar results point to the fact that the quality of teaching has deteriorated, if they have to abide by the logic of the GLC that the entrance exams helps to admit quality applicants.
According to them, the results lend credence to the proposition of some debaters that the GLC has crafted these examinations as a cash-cow or conduit of milking both prospective students and candidates for the Bar exams.
The few that will “practice” will do so mostly in the three business capitals of Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, and a couple other regional capitals serving a small number of people and entities in these urban areas, which hold less than 65% of Ghana’s population but where over 96% of all licensed lawyers reside.
2,807 Lawyers licensed to practice
Of the about 2,807 lawyers licensed to practice, 2,112 are based in Accra, 253 are in Kumasi, 58 are in Sekondi/Takoradi, 45 are in Cape Coast, 36 are in Koforidua, and 92 are in Sunyani.
1 Lawyer to almost 80,000 people
The reality is a ratio of one lawyer to almost 80,000 people.
Now here is the point: the majority of the 29.6 million citizens simply don’t have access to a lawyer.
But even if they did when they have the need for critical legal services, including when they come face to face with the criminal justice system, they simply can’t afford the cost of the process and can’t hire a lawyer.
81% failure in 2018
A total of 206 law students are to repeat the entire course after failing the final Bar exams at the Ghana School of Law.
Another 177 students have been referred in one or two papers. This represents 81% failure for 2017.
Out of 474 students who sat for the 2017-2018 final exams, only 91 students, representing 19%, were deemed to have passed and will be called to the Bar.
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