Senior Law Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Legon, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, has described as archaic, the country’s legal guide used to regulate the profession.
According to him, most of the rules were made several decades ago and do not reflect current trends in the legal profession, hence many legal professionals are constantly found to be flouting them.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Tuesday, he warned that if the rules are not reviewed, its application would be seen to be selective and unfair.
“Every lawyer in Ghana and every law firm in Ghana that is in the business of practicing law constantly breaches the 1960 rules [Legal Profession Act 1960] that govern legal practice in Ghana. When you have such anachronistic rule in operation and everyone is breaching them, then the risk of selective justice becomes very high… If we like your fame and we like your politics, we ignore it when you breach them, but if we don’t like your fame and your politics, we apply them to you strictly when you breach them,” he said.
Commenting on a recent 3-year ban imposed on human rights lawyer, Francis Xavier Sosu by the General Legal Council for among other things overcharging a client and advertising his services on social media, Dr. Atuguba said the Council must rather be interested in reviewing the rules to bring them at par with the country’s development.
He argued that when the Legal Profession Act 1960 and Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules of 1969 came into force, modern communication means such as Facebook, Twitter and the internet were not in existence, hence the professional legal body must not continue to apply such rules in modern times.
According to him, the ban on lawyer Sosu for advertising his law firm appears to be a selective application of the rules as especially when other law firms have websites and also advertise their services yet are left unpunished.
“Based on the Sosu precedent, every law firm with such material on their website must be penalized. Do you see how dangerous this rule is?” he quizzed.
Dr. Raymond Atugu, who is also a human rights lawyer, told Umaru Sanda Amadu that the punishment by the Council is a concern for human rights lawyers.
He said they are currently considering a draft proposal to be forwarded to the General Legal Council for consideration to have the mismatch applied.
Meanwhile, Lawyer Xavier-Sosu has served notice he will appeal against the ruling.
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