It appears the legal battle between the General Legal Council (GLC) and Emmanuel Korsi Senyo is not ending any moment soon as he has filed a third writ at the Supreme Court to challenge the composition and membership of the Council – the main body that regulates legal practice and education in Ghana.challenging the constitutionality of some aspects of the operations of the GLC and also seeking the Supreme Court to declare as null and void a publication by the GLC on its website which sought to waver the laws that prohibits lawyers from advertising without recourse to parliament.
In his third writ, the civil right activist is praying the highest court of the land to make a “declaration that the constituent membership of the Judiciary on the General Legal Council pursuant to sections 2(1) and (2) of the First Schedule to the Legal Profession Act,1960 (ACT 32) is inconsistent with or in contravention of Articles 125(3), 125(4), 125(5), 127(1), 127(2),128(1) and 136(1) of the 1992 constitution and thus null and void”
According to him, it is unconstitutional for a sitting Chief Justice who is the administrative head of the Judiciary according to Article 126 (1) of the 1992 Constitution to serve as the Chairman of the General Legal Council. He pointed out that the Chief Justice as the head of the Judiciary consists of the Superior courts of Judicature as well as the lower courts as Parliament may by law establish.
Korsi Senyo who was referred to by the GLC in its Statement of Defense in one of the cases before the Supreme Court as practicing law without necessary qualifications further reveals that “Section 2(2) of the First Schedule to the Legal Profession Act,1960 (ACT 32) provides that the Chief Justice is the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman is the most senior of the Justices of the Supreme Court.”
This, he argues that the Chief Justice as the head of the Judiciary and responsible for the administration and supervision of the Judiciary consist of only courts.
However, “Section 2(2) of the First Schedule to the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (ACT 32) states that the Chief Justice is the Chairman of the governing body of the General Legal Council”. This he questions as to whether or not the General Legal Council is a court which falls under the Judiciary thereby bringing it under the purview of the Chief Justice.
Touching on the legal definition of the GLC, he said, according to “Section 1 (1) of the First Schedule to the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (ACT 32), the General Legal Council is a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name”.
“From the above, it can reasonably be inferred that the General Legal Council is a body corporate; a legal entity which can sue and be sued in its capacity as a legal person” and thus not a court – he added
For Korsi Senyo, since “the General Legal Council is a body corporate and not a court, it falls outside the jurisdiction of the Judiciary specifically the Chief Justice hence the supervisory function of the Chief Justice over the courts does not extend to the General Legal Council”
According to him, in the writ, the functions of the Judiciary as outlined under Article 125 (5) of the 1992 as “the Judiciary shall have jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, including matters relating to this Constitution, and such other jurisdiction as Parliament may, by law, confer on it.”
“it is quite evident that the functions of the Judiciary as evinced in the 1992 Constitution has to do with issues pertaining strictly to matters concerning the Judiciary and nothing regarding legal education and upholding standards of professional conduct which is the clear mandate of the defendant [GLC] as per the Legal Profession Act, 1960. (ACT 32)” – he emphasized
He further stated that “the constituent membership of the Judiciary on the governing body of the General Legal Council and their consequent roles on the board may be deemed ultra vires the 1992 Constitution”
Mr. Senyo stated that when lawyers disagree with the decisions of their regulators, the General Legal Council, they to resort to the High Court, Appeals Court or the Supreme Court.
Therefore, there could be a possible conflict of interest as the Chief Justice, Justices of the Supreme Court, the Appeals Courts and other Justices are made to be members of the governing council of the GLC since then they also sit in the Court of Appeal.
He also added there is a highly possible conflict as other Justices that are serving on the governing body of the General Legal Council and its Disciplinary Committee are at the same time serving as judges in other courts that aggrieved lawyers with the GLC might take their matters to for redress.
Read his full statement of case: