Find Legal expertise in Ghana
- Judicial system
- Legal profession
- Legal statistics
Ghana’s justice system is broadly based on English Common Law, and the law relating to personal relationships and contracts is rooted in Ghanaian customary law. The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal and has jurisdiction over constitutional issues. The Court of Appeal deals with appeals relating to the High Court, which has jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases except where they concern treason.
All but the most serious civil and criminal cases, and cases under family law, are heard in the circuit courts. Circuit courts are located in regional and district councils, and the Chief Justice has the power to specify the jurisdiction of a Circuit Court in each region.
The legal profession allows a qualified lawyer to practice as a solicitor, a barrister, or both. A qualified legal practitioner is thus styled as both a Barrister-at-Law and as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court. According to the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), in 2008 there were an estimated 2,500 Barristers-at-Law and Solicitors of the Supreme Court in Ghana.
Until 1958, all Ghanaian lawyers were trained abroad. In 1958 the Ghana School of Law (GSL) was established. To this day, the GSL has a monopoly of the courses which enable persons to qualify as Barristers-at-Law and Solicitors of the Supreme Court in Ghana. Applicants for the graduate route to the legal profession are required to complete a three-year, full-time Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme. Applicants for the standard route must study a four-year, full-time LLB programme. Once the individual has obtained an LLB degree, they are required to complete the Professional Law Course. Candidates who pass the exams at the end of this course are enrolled as Barristers-at-Law and Solicitors of the Supreme Court, and are thus permitted to practice law in Ghana.
Foreign lawyers are allowed to practice in Ghana if that they have the required qualifications from their home jurisdiction, a letter of good-standing from their home bar, satisfy the General Legal Council and pass the necessary examination in Ghanaian Constitutional law and the Customary Law of Ghana. The GSL provides a course lasting between 10-15 weeks for such persons. Non-Ghanaian citizens are also obliged to demonstrate seven years Post-Qualified Experience (PQE) in a country with a similar legal system which often tends to be a Commonwealth country.
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 GBA put together its first formal constitution and code of ethics in 1958. Since that date, the GBA has endeavoured to hold a conference annually to take key decisions and to elect its officers.
The General Legal Council regulates the profession and handles complaints made against the professional conduct of lawyers.
Small commercial practices dominate the legal market. A number of firms are increasingly benefiting from building informal associations with international law firms.
The 2012 edition of the Legal 500 series named Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah, Oxford & Beaumont Solicitors, Fugar & Co and Sam Okudzeto & Associates as a few of the leading corporate law firms.
Information from the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
Legal rights index
Efficiency of legal framework
in settling disputes
Efficiency of legal framework
Property rights (including
Intellectual property protection