Lift restrictions on advertising legal services in Ghana, says law professor

Prof Richard Oppong, a member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, says the restrictions limit and undermine access to justice

Prof Richard Frimpong Oppong, a professor of law at the California Western School of Law in the US, has called for the removal of restrictions on advertising legal services in Ghana.

Oppong, who doubles as a member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, said the restrictions limit and undermine access to justice.

Delivering a lecture on the opening day of the J B Danquah Memorial Lectures on Monday (21 February) at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Oppong said the restrictions limit access to justice to about 70% of the population.

“As the bar acknowledges, the middle 70% of our population is not being reached or served adequately by the legal profession,” he said.

“Advertising is the traditional mechanism in a free market economy for a supplier to inform the potential purchaser of the availability and terms of exchange. The prohibition on advertising on attorneys likely has served to burden access to legal service, particularly for the not quite poor and the unknowledgeable.

“Some may argue that while such restrictions may seem anachronistic …removing them in the Ghanaian contest is not likely to unleash motivated personal injury lawyers to secure justice for those who suffer legal wrongs, instead it is more likely to open the floodgates to legal impostors and sharp practitioners who pontificate as legal luminaries in areas of law without any basis,” he added.

Listen to Prof Richard Frimpong Oppong in the attached audio below:

Widening access to justice

Oppong believes lifting of the restriction on adverting legal services will increase options and widen access to justice to the citizenry.

“I believe that even when the restrictions on advertising are removed, most lawyers will behave as they always have, they will abide by the solemn oath to uphold the integrity and honour of the legal profession and of the legal systems.”

He added: “For every lawyer who misconduct themselves through advertising, they will definitely be thousands of others who will be professional, honest and straight forward in their dealings.”

On Tuesday, 22 February 2022, Prof Oppong will deliver another lecture. The lecture will focus on legal education and legal professional competence and how students can be trained for the digital world.

The series is the 55th edition since it was started in 1968.

Fred Dzakpata

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995

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