The General Legal Council (GLC), in its Statement of Case of Defendant in a writ filed against it by a private citizen of Ghana, Emmanuel Korsi Senyo at the Supreme Court has stated that the Plaintiff [Emmanuel Korsi Senyo] who is not a lawyer is in actual fact practicing law without the necessary qualifications.
This according to the GLC, practicing law without the necessary
The GLC through its acting legal counsel, Mrs. Franklina Adanu argues that “even for practicing lawyers it has been suggested to the Rules of Court Committee to impose a minimum qualification for lawyers who appear before the highest court of the Land”
“The Plaintiff who says he is not a lawyer is in effect practising law in the Highest Court of this land by filing a writ, statement of case, raising points of law, arguing them and citing authorities. Respectively, he is practicing law without the necessary qualifications.” – GLC stated.
On July 5, 2017, Emmanuel Korsi Senyo dragged the General Legal Council, main regulatory body for the conduct and administration of legal education and profession in Ghana to the Supreme Court of Ghana for what he described as the GLC’s engagement in an alleged illegality by subtly amending the law prohibiting lawyers from touting and advertisement without recourse to Parliament.
The Legal Profession Rules of 1969, L.I. 613 and the Code of Ethics of the Ghana Bar Association passed pursuant to section 7(2) (b) and 15 of the Professional Bodies Registration Decree of 1973 (NRCD 143) prohibit lawyers from touting and advertisement.
Human rights lawyer, Francis Xavier-Sosu was on June 1, 2017 handed a four-year ban by the GLC for among others things advertising on Facebook – a ban he [Francis Xavier-Sosu] is challenging at the Court of Appeal.
Mr. Sosu’s ban for touting and personal advertising on social media triggered criticisms of the law for which some legal experts said is retrogressive and ought to be changed or apolished.
However, a notice issued by the GLC on June 12, 2017 appears to have softened the law to allow some form of online advertisement for lawyers.
This is what the private citizen, Emmanuel Korsi Senyo, has issued a writ at the Supreme Court to challenge its constitutionality.
In relaxing the said law, the GLC argued that rules were passed between 1969 and 1973, at a time there was no Internet, hence drafters of the law did not make reference to it.
The GLC observed that with the upsurge of the internet in the 1990’s, the mode of communication throughout the world has changed for easy and instant access to information on the spot.
It said information has moved from hardcopies to soft copies format on the internet, hence it has adopted the International Bar Association guidelines on websites that was proposed to the GLC “to permit lawyers and law firms to create websites and place their profiles on the internet” using set guidelines.
But Mr. Senyo is challenging the mandate of the GLC in amending the rules to allow lawyers create websites and has issued a writ to invoke the Supreme Court to declare such move unconstitutional.
For him, “seeking to allow some form of advertisement by lawyers without amending or revoking Rule 2 of the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules, 1969 (LI 613) is in violation of Articles 11(7), 23, 296(a) and (b) and 297(d) of the 1992 Constitution.”
He is thus praying the highest court of the land to declare as null and void, the June 12, 2017 notice issued by the GLC “Guidelines for Lawyers to create websites and place their profile on the internet” as it violates of Articles 11(7), 23, 296(a) and (b) and 297(d) of the 1992 Constitution.
General Legal Council’s defense:
The GLC in their statement of defence argues that, “In the statement of case, it is has been submitted that the Plaintiff’s contentions do not raise real or genuine issues of interpretation or enforcement. Your Lordships have therefore been respectfully invited to so hold”.
“It has also been submitted that the Defendant by adopting the guideline proposed by the Ghana Bar Association, has not in any way sought to amend the Legal Professions (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules, 1969 (L.I. 613)” – GLC argues
“Rule 2(4) of L.I. 613 is not contradictory as misconstrued by the Plaintiff [Emmanuel Korsi Senyo]” – GLC defense its argument
The GLC further stated that Korsi Senyo’s suggestion that the use of website is advertisement is “wholly misconceived”
According to the GLC, “Websites are not intended to be used solely for advertisement. A website is also a virtual office/chambers in cyberspace”.
Korsi Senyo legal representation in Court:
Speaking to Awake News, the civil right activist and peace advocate revealed that he will not be represented by any lawyer in all his two Supreme Court cases as well as the petitions he filed at the General Legal Council against some lawyers including a member of the General Legal Council’s Disciplinary Committee, Mr. Sam Okudzeto, Mr. Vincent Beyuo, GLC’s lawyer and a private legal practitioners Mr. Ace Anan Ankomah.
When asked why he will not hire a lawyer to represent him, this is what he has to say….”I think, I am empowered by the 1992 constitution of Ghana to willingly have a legal representation or otherwise. So, I chose not to hire a lawyer to represent me”