Ghana Bar Association

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) is the professional association for lawyers in Ghana. Membership is not compulsory, but members of the legal profession are automatically registered as members with the GBA.

The legal system, like many other institutions in Ghana, is a direct product of its colonial past. After a few fitful starts, the Supreme Court of Judicature for the Gold Coast Colony was established by ordinance by the Imperial Parliament in Westminster in 1876. It consisted of a Chief Justice and not more than four puisne judges. Provision was further made for a Full Court consisting of the Chief Justice and one or two puisne judges which acted as a Court of Appeal sitting in Accra and Lagos, which was then administered as part of the Gold Coast Colony. The Supreme Court was vested with the same jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters as was exercisable by the Court of Queen’s Bench, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Court of Exchequer.

The Bar Association drew up its first formal constitution and code of ethics in 1958 and from then on except for a few occasions when due to political reasons an annual conference has not been possible, the Bar Association has held a conference annually to take important decisions and to elect its officers who hold office for only one year but are eligible for re-election. The Bar Association considers that in this sense it is one of the most democratic institutions in Ghana .