Sam Okudzeto, a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council has said that Parliament overstepped its boundaries with what he understands to be an order from the legislature to the General Legal Council to admit some 499 students who were refused admissions by the Ghana School of Law.
Sam Okudzeto vehemently refuted the ‘order’ from Parliament, accusing the members of showing lack of appreciation for the law thats set up the GLC.
The veteran lawyer argues Parliament has no such powers to make any move in that regard and that the GLC as a judicial instrument is free from any sort of influence.
He took a swipe at MPs who he claims behave in ways that give off the impression that Parliament’s powers have not limit.
“Under what authority? I have been a member of Parliament before and a lot of my people assume that just because they are in parliament… they cannot do anything they like. You don’t have any such authority or power. If you look at the judiciary under the constitution, it is there in black and white, the president and parliament, nobody can tell them what to do.
“The GLC is established under law. Where under the law is power given to parliament to give directives to the GLC. When I hear members of parliament behaving as if Parliament can do anything. Our Parliament is controlled by a law which is the constitution. The constitution limits your power and authority. The president also has powers and also limited by the constitution. The President can also not tell the GLC what to do. He can’t. Parliament has no power or authority or whatsoever.
“I’m saying this on the authority of my understanding of the law. The GLC is controlled by the Legal Professions act. They should look into it and show me where they’ve been given power to tell the GLC how they should conduct the exams and who they should admit.
“Under this law, the Attorney General is a member of the GLC and the Judicial Council. The law was made like that to ensure if they have an opinion, they should have rather liaise with the Attorney-General and try to persuade him to bring it to the GLC,” he told Asaase Radio.
Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, the Member of Parliament for South Dayi who is one of the MPs who is a proponent for the new bill that seeks to overhaul the GLC and legal education has said that Parliament indeed has no power to directly order the GLC.
He however stated that the GLC being an institution of the executive is subject to control from the Attorney-General who is a member of the council. He stated that Parliament can however order the Attorney-General and get him to act on the resolution it has passed.
“The Attorney-General has forgotten that under Article 103 Clause 3, we have powers to make inquiries on the activities of departments and others. The General Legal Council is not part of the judiciary so we have the power to supervise their job. The law that sets up the GLC is not like that. The GLC is a creation of Parliament.
“Under the act, we gave the Attorney-General the power to issue administrative and functional directives to the GLC and they are supposed to obey it. The Attorney-General is also accountable to Parliament. The resolution we passed was in two phases. The original one passed directed at the GLC and a consequential order to Attorney-General to ensure that the directive is followed,” he said.