The practice of law in Ghana is regulated by the Legal Practitioners Act, 1989 (Act 462) and its subordinate legislation. The Act provides for a common-law profession and a legal system based on English common law.
There are three degrees of lawyers who practice in Ghana: Inferior Court Attorneys, Superior Court Attorneys, and Solicitors. All lawyers must be registered with the Bar Association to practice anywhere in Ghana.
The sources of law in Ghana are the Constitution, statutes, common law, and customary laws. The source of law is important because it helps to identify how a court can make decisions on particular cases. It is also used to find out who has the authority to make laws for Ghanaians.
Sources Of law In Ghana
Of all the sources of law in Ghana, there are two main sources. They are:
Article 11 of the 1992 Ghana Constitution states that the laws of Ghana shall comprise:
- The Constitution;
- Enactments made by or under the authority of the Parliament established by the Constitution [or legislation];
- Any Orders, Rules and Regulations made by any person or authority under a power conferred by this Constitution [or subsidiary or subordinate legislation];
- The existing law or the written and unwritten laws of Ghana that existed immediately before the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution; and
- The common law [or the English common law, English doctrines of equity, and the rules of customary law].
The Constitution consists of written and unwritten components, such as common law rights and conventions, constitutions enacted prior to independence (e.g., colonial constitutions), statutory laws enacted after independence.
Legislation is one of the sources of law in Ghana.
It is one of the major sources because it is mainly used to make laws, regulations, and other rules that will be followed by everyone. Legislation can also be referred to as a statute or act. The word legislation comes from the Latin word, Lex which means law. Thus, legislation generally refers to any legal utterance made by a parliament or legislature including an act, ordinance, resolution, or vote adopted by parliament.
The Hansard is the record of proceedings and debate of Parliament and contains all Bills introduced into Parliament, including those which were never passed by both Houses.
The existing law or the written and unwritten laws
The existing law or the written and unwritten laws of Ghana are what guide us in our daily life. These laws were made by men who believed in their cause and went through a lot of struggle to make them known to all.
The common law
The common law is a system of law derived from judicial decisions, rather than from written statutes or regulations promulgated by the government. The common law is based on what the courts have interpreted as being “in accordance with” statutory law and custom.
The authors of the Constitution believed that the common law, which was based on English law, was suitable for Ghana. The common law system which is also known as case law, operates on precedents set by earlier court decisions. This means that when a similar situation arises in another case, the same ruling applies to both cases.
So, it is a fact that Ghana is a common-law jurisdiction. This means that sources of law in Ghana are the same as those found in other common law jurisdictions such as England and America. In practice, however, there are several sources of law in Ghana which include: the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; Statute Law; Customary Law; Judicial Decisions and International Conventions
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