A Supreme Court Judge, Her Ladyship Gertrude Torkornoo, has advised law students to aspire to become professionals with integrity.
Justice Torkornoo gave the advice at the 5th Legal Luminaries Platform organised by the UCC Law Students' Union. The theme for the event, which was held at the C. A. Ackah Lecture Theatre, Auditorium 900 was on the theme, “Finding a Balance between Personal Achievements and Social Responsibilities, Lessons for the Law Students"
Person's with Integrity
Justice Torkornoo noted that a person with integrity was full of candour and truth and would not engage in nefarious practices such as duplicity and deception. She noted that integrity was only possible if one lives around the strong core of values, dreams and goals, which according to her described one’s identity. According to her, integrity demanded that law students spent quality time to identify where they were going, their aspirations in life, as well as jealously guarding the journey to their destiny. She continued:" It is the commitment of integrity in your identity that will help you to avoid wasting time on activities and people that will be beneficial to their cause,” she advised.
Skills Development of Law Students
Touching on skills development, Justice Torkornoo urged them to strive to acquire the skills of research, writing, listening, hearing and the skill of technology. She admitted that the subject of skill development was not much tackled as part of the learning process of law students in the country. She, therefore, encouraged the students to invest in skills with their personal resources, pointing out that “Skills lead to excellence and will allow you to accomplish tasks easily and also put them on a higher pedestal ahead of their peers”. She encouraged them not to be intimidated but firm and assertive of their personality by not wasting time on situations that would be inconsistent with their life. She enjoined them to value time in all their endeavours because time was not renewable.
“If you do not understand how important time is and the management of any case in court, you will lose the case," Justice Torkornoo said.
Appointments and Promotions of Judges
She used the occasion to clarify a popular misconception among Ghanaians that appointments and promotions of Judges to the bench were guarded by political considerations. Using herself as a classic example to discard that notion, she said her appointment to the High Court was during President John Agyekum Kufour’s era while she gained promotion to the Appeals Court when Mr. John Dramani Mahama was President. I am currently a Justice of the Supreme under President Akufo-Addo’s presidency.
”So which Party do I vote for?” she queried, maintaining that it was not relevant because any of the three (3) presidents could have taken his decision based on a particular situation. She reiterated that judges always got their promotions based on merit and integrity.
A Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Dr. Sena Dei Tutu, who spoke at the function made a clarion call to the law students to be socially responsible in all spheres of their lives. She said being socially responsible was all about behaving ethically and sensitive towards social, environmental and economic situations. “It is about being accountable for your actions and being conscious about the impact of your actions", she added.
Dr. Tutu catalogued some of the things that would make law students socially responsible, which included partaking in community development, joining community volunteer groups, amongst others. She advised them to balance their lives and not to limit themselves to only law books.
"In your quest to be a lawyer, let there be a balance, don’t let it all be about the law, but also be consciously aware of where you are. Basically, you don’t have to wait to be whatever you set out to be before you can become socially responsible. Even in law school, study and make time for your friends," she advised.
The Law Students’ Union later presented a Citation of Honour to Justice Torkornoo in appreciation of her demonstration of knowledge in law and skills in writing whiles Dr. Tutu was honoured for her invaluable contributions towards Legal Education in the country.