Chief Justice (CJ) Justice Anin Yeboah, has charged some forty nine (49) newly qualified lawyers who have been enrolled unto the roll of lawyers in Ghana, to make it a point to research into the grey and new areas of the law.
The Chief Justice made the call when he addressed the newly qualified lawyers at General Legal Council’s enrollment of new lawyers ceremony (Mini Call) held at the CJ Court (Supreme Court) on the 14th of February, 2020.
“Remember that your hard work enriches the lives of others and moves everyone forward. Invest in reading good law books, research into the grey and new areas of the law, participate in the continuing legal education programs organized by the Ghana Bar Association and make every conscious effort to update your knowledge and skills and broaden your knowledge base at every given opportunity throughout your career,” the Chief Justice said.
Two Duties of a Lawyer
In his remarks, the CJ drew the attention of the newly enrolled lawyers to two major duties of a lawyer. He noted that as new lawyers they have become officers of the court and at the same time, they are enjoined to uphold the interest of their clients. Balancing appropriately these two conflicting duties according to Justice Anin Yeboah, is an ethical dilemma that most practicing lawyers face in their practice.
“You have just given an undertaking in the presence of all of us to abide by the precepts enjoined in and practice the profession in accordance with the legal profession (professional conduct and etiquette) rules prescribed by the Council and to uphold the honour and dignity of the legal profession so long as you remain a legal practitioner in Ghana. This undertaking implies that you have an additional level of responsibility not to be driven by your client’s wishes alone. Take this undertaking seriously,” the CJ indicated .
“Your duty to the court includes candour, honesty and fairness. It is therefore unprofessional and unethical for a lawyer to mislead the court by deliberate falsehood. Moreso, the lawyer is also enjoined to uphold justice and to protect the court’s integrity. The duty owed to the client, also includes undivided loyalty and that of utmost good faith and the lawyer is enjoined to promote the client’s interests with all legitimate means and to defend client’s interests zealously. The need to effectively balance these two duties cannot be over-emphasized,” the Chief Justice further noted.
“Civility is a choice and whatever choice you make, makes you. Being bright, industrious, articulate, resolute, assertive and courageous are all essential attributes but you must choose to be respectful. Show respect to everyone you come into contact with whether great or small. Show respect to your seniors in chambers, judges, court officials and the law clerks you will meet in your chambers. You must always be guided by the biblical injunction to esteem others better than yourselves,” the Chief Justice added.
Call to Discourage Litigation
Chief Justice Anin Yeboah ended his admonition to the new lawyers by urging them to discourage litigation but rather encourage dispute resolution as much as is possible by quoting Abraham Lincoln, the American icon who once said, “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neigbours to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser – in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. THERE WILL STILL BE BUSINESS ENOUGH.”
The Statistics & The Motions
Out of the forty nine (49) qualified lawyers who were enrolled unto the roll of lawyers, thirty three (33) were women and the remaining sixteen (16) were men. The leader of the Bar as well as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akuffo, moved both the motion for the enrollment ceremony to commence and to end. The President of the Ghana Bar Association, Anthony Forson, seconded both motions respectively.