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CJ advises new lawyers to uphold legal integrity

Chief Justice Anin Yeboah has admonished newly qualified lawyers to always exhibit integrity, diligence and professionalism in the discharge of their duties as barristers and solicitors of the country’s Supreme Court.

He explained that the legal profession thrived on hard work, integrity, professionalism and civility, adding that the inductees must display such values in both corporate and private practice.

Justice Anin Yeboah made the call at a mini call to the Bar at the Accra International Conference Centre where 196 new lawyers were enrolled on to the roll of lawyers in Ghana.

“The diligence you exhibited in the course of your study must not end here, the real work is just about starting,” he said.

He also urged the lawyers to develop good habits and abide by the precepts enjoined in the legal profession to uphold the honour and dignity of the profession.

The Chief Justice further said that by taking the oath, the lawyers had automatically assumed an additional level of responsibility in society.

“Do not be quick to sleep over your ethics, not because you have become lawyers today. Strive to be known as a noble lawyer who can be trusted,” he added.

Offer aid

Quoting a verse from Proverbs 31:8, the Chief Justice further admonished the lawyers to assist the needy through pro bono services since the Legal Aid Commission was not well resourced.

He also encouraged the new lawyers to embark on every assignment they are given in an intentional manner, giving it their best efforts whether paid or unpaid.

The Chief Justice advised the new lawyers to make every conscious effort to update their knowledge and skills and broaden their base at every given opportunity throughout their career. He, therefore, urged them to participate in the continuous legal education programmes organised by the Ghana Bar Association, which is key to their growth and development as young lawyers.

“Under the Legal Profession Professional Conduct and Etiquette Rules (2020) L.I. 2423, every lawyer who holds a practicing certificate issued by the General Legal Council is mandated to complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuous professional development in a calendar year.”

He revealed that plans are far advanced to make this requirement one of the pre-requisites for the issuance of practicing licence to all lawyers in Ghana under the Legal Profession Bill which will soon become law.

“Lawyers in the country will soon be mandated to complete a minimum of a 12-hour professional development programme in a year before the renewal of their licence. This is to help broaden their knowledge and contribute to their growth in the profession,” he stressed.

Responsibilities

The Chief Justice also reminded them that the undertaking they gave to abide by the precepts enjoined in the legal profession implies that they have additional levels of responsibilities and could therefore, not be driven by their clients’ wishes alone.

“A lawyer is undoubtedly enjoined to zealously promote and defend clients’ interest with all legitimate means. However, the four-fold duty must not be taken lightly. As new officers of the court, you are simultaneously enjoined to uphold the interest of the court, the profession and society at large. Your duty to the court and client is particularly critical to the effective functioning of the law and court proceedings,” he said.

He stressed the need to effectively balance these two duties in line of their duties. “Your duty to the court includes candour, honesty and fairness. It is therefore, unprofessional and unethical for a lawyer to mislead the court by a deliberate falsehood,” he stated.

Justice Anin Yeboah added that the legal profession thrives on good character, reiterating that “lawyers must take pains to guard their integrity”.

“Strive to be known as a noble lawyer who can be trusted. You must also endeavour to maintain a professional appearance at all times. Be dressed and well-groomed for the law chambers, the courts and the various offices you may find yourselves. Be mindful of your temperament and demeanour, show respect to your seniors in chambers, judges, court officials and the law clerks who will meet you in chambers,” he admonished.

 

 

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