Accra, June 16, GNA - Justice Sophia Akuffo, the Chief Justice nominee, on Friday insisted that the Ghana School of Law is still relevant for professional training of lawyers in the country.
“I’m not one of those who subscribe to the suggestion that Ghana School of Law being scrapped. What happens in the universities at the faculties of law is that they educate people academically on the law as a theory and on knowledge of the law,” she said.
She said the School was a professional training facility where the theories learnt in the classroom were supposed to be taught from a more practical point of view.
She noted: “At the Ghana School of Law, the subjects are more practical because it is where you’re taught how to draw up a charge and marshal evidence to back that charge”.
Justice Akuffo said this when she appeared before the 26-member Appointments Committee of Parliament, in Accra, for vetting.
She drew comparison with architecture and medicine, where persons who completed their theoretical training were made to undergo hands-on training before they were certified to practise.
“So it is a profession and you need to learn to become a professional and at the moment the only institution providing that or authorised to provide that is the Ghana School of Law,” she explained.
The Chief Justice nominee noted that unless the faculties at the universities would be professionally-focused, the issue of scrapping the School should be shot down.
“Many people finish LLB without becoming practising lawyers and so if you want to become a lawyer, then you go to the professional school.
“When we were in law school, in fact, it was such a seamless transition that some of us actually thought that the Ghana School of Law was part of the University of Ghana,” she noted.
However, she admitted that the practical training at the School had not been that much and indicated that there was ongoing reforms to make the training at the School more practical.
It would be recalled that some lawyers recently advocated the scrapping of School due to unnecessary bureaucratic tendencies that prevented graduates with LLM from being enrolled and, thus, hindered their chances of becoming professional lawyers.
President Akufo-Addo nominated her as the Chief Justice in accordance with Article 144 of the 1992 Constitution and if the Committee approved her nomination would become the second woman to occupy the highest office of the judiciary.
Justice Akuffo was born on the 20th December 1949 and hailed from Akropong Akuapim in the Eastern Region.
The 67-year-old Justice of the Supreme Court has a daughter and two grandchildren.
She was appointed to the Supreme Court by the former President Jerry John Rawlings on the 30th November 1995 and had served the court for more than 10 years.