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Law school resolution: Joe Wise schools Dame on Parliament’s powers

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Joe Wise, first deputy speaker of parliament and MP for Bekwai

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, alias Joe Wise, has explained why Attorney General Godfred Dame is wrong to say that Parliament has no right to ask the General Legal Council, GLC, to admit some 499 students to the School of Law.

Joe Wise clarified in an interview on the Joy News channel that Parliament did not give instructions to the GLC but that they had issued a resolution directed at Dame in his capacity as A-G because he was answerable to the House as a representative of the President.

In responding to the A-G’s letter dated November 1, 2021 opposing Parliament’s resolution, the Bekwai MP explained further that the GLC as constituted is not part of the Judicial arm of government but rather of the Executive and a creation of Parliament for that matter.

“I think it is clear, this is a resolution adopted and directed at the General Legal Council, that they should go by the advertised procedure to determine pass or fail and by that we suggested that the 499 that obtained the 50% mark should be admitted.

“I hear people say that Parliament is giving instructions to the Judiciary, let me make it clear that the General Legal Council is not part of the Judiciary, it is an executive agency created by Parliament. The Attorney General is the minister who has ministerial responsibility.

“To that extent, the GLC is ammenable to the oversight of Parliament and that is what we are seeking to do. Parliament did not instruct them mto do anything. Parliament did not order them to change or make any new rules,” he explained.

He continued that the position of Parliamey per the resolution was for the GLC to implement to the latter the advert they put in the newspapers which stated that any candidate with 50% should be admitted.

He referenced an Acting Director who he said had admitted publicly that when they advertised, they intended anyone with 50% or more to be granted admission.
He said the Attorney-General is the one who can answer issues about GLC, and so their resolution’s consequential order was for AG to abide.

“The Attorney General is answerable to Parliament and he may be referred to explain why the resolution cannot be implemented,” he added whiles answering whether or not he worried that the resolution will not be implemented.

What Dame said in his November 1 response to Parliament

The A-G in response to a Parliamentary Resolution passed last week stated that the lawmaking chamber has no role to issue that directive under Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution.

His letter dated November 1 read in part: “In accordance with section 13(1)(e) of the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (Act 32), the power to regulate admission of students to pursue courses of instruction leading to qualification as lawyers and to hold examinations which may include preliminary, intermediate and final examinations has been vested in the General Legal Council.

“The Council [General Legal Council] shall in the performance of their functions comply with any general directions given by the Minister.

“In my respectful opinion, this provision underscores the capacity of the Executive not the Legislature, through the Minister responsible for the General Legal Council, i.e. the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, to direct and advise the Council on major matters of national importance.”

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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