The flagship programme of the Centre for Practical and Multidisciplinary Legal Education and Training is its proposed Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with business specialisation programme. This is a specialised practical oriented business focused combined Bachelor of Laws programme (practical and multidisciplinary), which is designed to offer a choice for individuals wishing to pursue a programme of study in law at UPSA leading to the award of a qualifying Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB). When fully operational, individuals who apply to study law in UPSA shall have a choice whether to study a conventional LLB offered at the UPSA Faculty of Law or the specialised LLB with various business specialisation options, offered at the Centre for Practical and Multidisciplinary Legal Education and training (CPMLET). The LLB with business specialisation programme innovatively combines the General Legal Council prescribed law courses with various business specialisation options, comprising;
• Bachelor of Science in Accounting with Law (LLB)
• Bachelor of Science in Banking with Law (LLB)
• Bachelor of Science in IT with Law (LLB)
• Bachelor of Science in Marketing with Law (LLB)
• Bachelor of Science in Management with Law (LLB)
This unique programme will enable students to develop expertise in law and various business disciplines. The programme thus affords students the opportunity to critically explore the gains law derives from its interactions with various business disciplines. The LLB with Business specialisation programme is appropriate for law students who want to develop specialized legal expertise in particular areas of business. Graduates of the programme will contribute to the socio-economic development of society through business oriented legal practice, paying attention to the many important transactional, facilitative and global aspects of legal practice relevant to the 21st century but often ignored in conventional curricula for legal education that typically concentrates on litigation aspect of law practice and production of pure legal technicians.
The philosophy of the LLB with business specialisation programme is rooted, in part, in the notion that in the 21st century legal practice demands greater understanding of the interrelated nature of various disciplines. The increasing standardisation and specialisation of professional requirements involving legal practice and other paradigm changes taking place in the legal profession make it imperative for institutions involved in legal education and training to design innovative measures of providing legal education and training that adequately prepare future law graduates to face the challenges of 21st law practice. In spite of this, the prevailing system of legal education in Ghana does not facilitate the production of the relevant legal expertise and skills for the 21st century. Two notable deficiencies are worthy of mention.
• In the first place the curriculum for legal education specifies only law subjects as prerequisite courses which students must study and pass to be eligible to participate in the entrance examination for consideration for admission to the professional law programme administered by the Ghana School of law. The result is that by default, courses of other disciplines such as business are not included in the academic curriculum for legal education in the universities. This denies law students the opportunity to gain insight from other disciplines in the course of their legal education. Specifically, the opportunity to specialise in particulars of business or other disciplines is lost to law students. The LLB with business specialisation programme will address this deficiency, as it provides the opportunity for students to combine law courses with various business options in a way that enables them to develop expertise in both law and business disciplines. This will eventually enable students to specialise in particular areas of business.
• The second deficiency relates to the approach to teaching of law in the universities. The approach over relies on the lecture method of imparting information on legal theory, principles, rules and doctrine with little touch, if any at all on practical approaches that instil skills of practical problem solving and community consciousness.
The two-tier system of legal education probably explains this problem. With this system of legal education and training, Faculties of law in the universities concentrate on imparting knowledge of legal principles, rules, concepts, theory and doctrine, relying overly on the lecture method of teaching. In the end law faculties produce graduates are proceed to the second level of legal education at the Ghana School of law graduates who proceed to the Ghana School of Law to undergo practical and professional training. By default, therefore, Law faculties in the universities specialise in providing academic legal education through knowledge impartation, leaving out practical legal training to the Ghana School of Law. Be that as it is, there is no reason in principle why universities cannot design curriculum and establish systems that integrate theoretical and practical approaches to academic legal education and training. Complimenting theoretical legal education with clinical practical experiential learning will go a long way to adequately preparing future law graduates to enter into the legal profession not only with legal knowledge but also with critical skills to competently address the needs of their clients and be responsive to community needs. It is in this context that the relevance of the practical legal education aspect of the mandate the Centre for Practical and Multidisciplinary Legal Education and Training (CPMLET) should be evaluated.
The LLB with business specialisations programme will be taught by a team of law teachers who will leverage on a mix of academic knowledge of the law and practical clinical lawyering skills in a way that puts real world clinical legal experience at the forefront of the programme. Students will acquire a critical understanding of the business and corporate environment in which law operates and the legal environment in which business is conducted. Students will also appreciate the notion that the continuing relevance of the legal profession in the 21st century depends on its interaction with other disciplines, especially those that drive and underpin the forces of globalization. In this way students develop a keen understanding of the relevance of the interdependence of law and Business. In addition, students will develop relevant business