Chief Justice, Gertrude Torkornoo, has endorsed the inclusion of legal ethics studies in law school curricula, emphasizing its role in fostering appropriate discipline within the legal profession.
Speaking at a public lecture and the launch of the Gertrude Torkornoo Moot Court Competition at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School, she suggested that along with legal ethics, guidance on dress codes and behavioral norms for legal practitioners should be incorporated.
“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.”
The public lecture, themed “Ethics, Compliance, and Accountability: A Holistic Approach to Adjudication,” marked the commencement of the Gertrude S. Torkornoo Moot Court Competition—a national contest bringing together law students from various faculties across Ghana. The competition aims to enhance students’ advocacy and litigation skills, preparing them for future legal careers.
Chief Justice Torkornoo discussed the significance of ethics in adjudication, successful lawyering, and the holistic approach to ethics by adjudicators.
Emphasizing the role of discipline as an ethical value, she stated that disciplined behavior, when ingrained as a cultural norm, leads to excellence in professional practice.
The Chief Justice underscored the importance of compliance with ethical values in successful lawyering, citing the constitution, statutes, and professional codes of conduct as the foundations of the justice sector.
She highlighted independent thinking, competence, diligence, and integrity as essential skills for legal professionals in dissecting facts and applying legal principles.
”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.”
Addressing the relationship between ethics and successful lawyering, Chief Justice Torkornoo emphasized that proficiency in law arises not only from legal knowledge but also from the exercise of adept skills and character. She further commended GIMPA School of Law for introducing the Moot Court Competition as an enriching extracurricular activity, providing a unique platform for students to learn and apply legal skills and values.