The Court of Appeal, Greater Accra Region, sitting at Accra (Coram: Dennis Adjei, Avril Lovelace-Johnson (as she then was), and Kwofie, JJ.A) has delivered a unanimous decision in a suit intitled Abraham Okan Klu v Joseph Agyei Laryea regarding the scope of a pupil’s duties whilst serving pupillage. The Court consequently declared as a nullity, proceedings in which a lawyer serving her pupillage and had not yet obtained a practicing license had participated. The Supreme Court had in two earlier decisions intituled Ex parte Teriwajah and Henry Nuertey Korboe v Francis Amosah reached similar conclusions and given judgment against a lawyer who had participated in court proceedings while he had not yet renewed his solicitor’s license. The entire proceedings the lawyer participated in were declared a nullity by the apex Court. This article seeks to explore the effect the Court of Appeal’s decision in Klu v Laryea portends for the pupillage system and the practice of law in Ghana.
B: THE CASE: KLU V. LARYEA
The plaintiff/respondent in the suit issued a writ at the High Court against the defendants/appellants as head and elder of a certain family. The defendants raised an objection to the plaintiff’s capacity to sue. The High Court took evidence on the issue of the plaintiff’s capacity and the trial judge ruled that the plaintiff had the requisite capacity to institute the action. Subsequently, the defendants’ lawyer filed an application to interrogate the capacity of one of the lawyers handling the case for the plaintiff. The defendants’ lawyer argued that, one Stella Adu-Duodu, who had been representing the plaintiff in the suit was a pupil, and therefore, did not have a solicitor’s license. As a result, the defendants’ lawyer argued further, the said lawyer Stella Adu-Duodu did not have the requisite capacity to represent the plaintiff as lawyer.