Social media influencer, Elorm Ababio has been declined an opportunity to be called to the Ghana Bar for the second time in a row.
In November last year, the General Legal Council set up a committee to investigate the applicant -in-waiting to be called to the bar popularly referred to as Ama Governor after complaint of misconduct widely circulated videos engaging in conduct unbecoming of a candidate.
After consideration of the report, the Council resolved to permit her to fill appropriate forms for application to be called to Bar in October/November 2023 citing observation and monitoring of her activities before considering her application.
In a surprising turn of events, the General Legal Council in a statement noted that it has declined the application of Ama Governor to be called to the Bar, with the ceremony on Friday, October 20, 2023.
According to the council her fate was decided at a meeting on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, after consideration of her public conduct leading up to the application.
There’s been public outcry especially on social media as the General Legal Council’s decision comes as a shock to many in the legal community. The development has sparked discussions among legal experts and the public about the criteria and considerations that determine one’s eligibility to be called to the Bar.
According to a letter dated March 13, 2023, from the General Legal Council to Elorm, the council had been closely monitoring her conduct in the lead-up to her application. This scrutiny of her public behaviour played a significant role in the council’s ultimate decision.
While the specific details of the council’s concerns have not been disclosed, it is clear that Ama governor’s actions and statements in the public domain were deemed problematic enough to warrant the rejection of her application to join the bar.
On future considerations for Ama Governor to apply to join the bar the council decided that It was decided that she may reapply to be called to the Bar anytime there is a scheduled enrolment ceremony after the 20 October 2023 enrolment ceremony. It also added that her conduct will remain under scrutiny by the Council.
The decision by the General Legal Council has ignited debates about the balance between an individual’s freedom of expression and the ethical standards expected of legal practitioners.
Legal experts argue that the legal profession requires upstanding moral character and ethical conduct, as lawyers play a crucial role in upholding justice and the rule of law.
While reacting to an earlier decision by the Ghana Legal Council to not call Ama Governor, Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo expressed shock at the public furore.
“When somebody has behaved in a certain way and we say we cannot call the person to the bar, I was surprised at the furore that rose up concerning the call to the bar of certain people and I thought, like seriously?
“This is proper conduct for the legal sector? That is interesting. So, for you to come into the space of the legal sector, your conduct cannot be obscene and offensive and you expect to be admitted, it doesn’t work like that. Your comments on social media, your ex parte communication for judge is extremely critical,” she noted while speaking on conduct of law students and lawyers in general at an event in Accra.
The situation raises questions about the responsibility of aspiring lawyers in maintaining a high standard of conduct in both their private and public lives, especially in today’s age of social media and increased public scrutiny.