Include dress code in legal ethics for law students- Chief Justice

Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo has supported the incorporation of the study of legal ethics in the curriculum of law faculties.

She said the initiative would promote the culture of appropriate disciplines for the legal profession.

‘I am aware that there is brisk consideration for the incorporation of the study of legal ethics within the curriculum of law faculties.

‘Allow me to suggest that to increase the ethical requirement for propriety, this curriculum be accompanied with directions on dress code and other codes on behaviour that necessarily follow the life of a legal practitioner.’

Chief Justice Torkornoo was speaking at a public lecture and the launch of the maiden edition of the Gertrude Torkornoo Moot Court Competition at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GHIMPA) Law School in Accra.

The public lecture was under the theme: ‘Ethics, Compliance and Accountability: A Holistic Approach to Adjudication’.

The Gertrude S. Torkornoo Moot Court Competition is a national conte
st that would bring together participants from various law faculties across Ghana. The event would serve as a platform for students to refine their advocacy and litigation skills and prepare them for work in their future legal careers.

The Chief Justice engaged participants on the place of ethics in adjudication and successful lawyering, the place of compliance in successful lawyering and a holistic approach to ethics by an adjudicator.

She told law students that discipline, as an ethical value, played a key role in achieving a successful career.

‘Discipline is enforced behaviour. When discipline becomes imbibed as culture, it produces fruit of excellence for the practitioner.’

The Chief Justice said while successful lawyering was strongly anchored on compliance of ethical values, the justice sector derived its strength from the constitution, statutes and from professional codes of conducts.

‘ Compliance with ethical values is, therefore, not an inconvenient call that disturbs the smooth catwalk to pomp
of lawyering, but a gentle set of directional sign posts that lead the legal professional to the standards of intellectual delivery required for justice to be adequately served to citizens to whom belong the right of justice.’

She noted that another skill set was independent thinking, competence, diligence and integrity.

Those, she said, delivered the ability for professionals to correctly dissect facts and draw out cross hairs of legal principles.

According to her, the application of ethical values in the conduct of legal work was, therefore, a constitutional requirement and it did not merely reside in the enclave of morality and philosophy.

She said the 1992 Constitution had set out the key ethical values that the nation demanded from its justice delivery system.

Those, she said, included independence of the judiciary in the administration of justice, integrity as an anchor of the judge’s character, competence in the conduct of the work of a judge and diligence in the management of the business of just
ice delivery.

Juxtaposing the place of ethics in adjudication and successful lawyering, the Chief Justice said successful lawyering did not rise only from depth of knowledge of law, but more from the exercise of adept skills and character.

On the Moot Court Competition, the Chief Justice was elated that GIMPA School of Law had given unique opportunities to faculties and Schools of Law to weave into the set of curriculum, a contest of learning that delivered training in skills and of values through moot court arrangements.

Dr Enam Antonio, Lecturer and Chairperson, Moot Court and Clinical Legal Education Committee, GIMPA School of Law, said the Moot Court had been elevated as an extra curriculum activity of the School.

According to Dr. Antonio, the Moot Court would help students to appreciate Ghana’s laws.

Source: Ghana News Agency