Attorney General Should Be Free To Side With Either Rastafarian Boy Or Achimota School [Opinion]


Achimota School, a public school under the Ghana Education Service (GES), is refusing to enforce a directive of the GES to admit this student. 

So why does it appear, from the order of this Court, that the Attorney General (AG) is representing Achimota School in the suit brought against the school by Mr Tyron Marhguy? 

The practice of making the AG an automatic respondent/defendant in every constitutional/human rights suit brought against a public entity does not make sense.

It assumes that the AG must automatically take the side of the public entity whose action is being challenged as wrongful and unconstitutional.

It makes even less sense in a case such as this, where a subordinate public entity is acting in clear defiance of the authority of its supervising public body. 

Except where the suit challenges a law or policy of the Government of Ghana itself, in which case the AG is duty-bound to represent the Government, the AG should merely be invited in cases like this to advise the Court, perhaps via an amicus brief, of what its position is on the matter.

The AG should be free to side with the plaintiff or the defendant. The public entity whose act is being challenged must have its own lawyers.

Indeed the practice of having all manner of public entities engage in allegedly wrongful or unlawful acts, then burden the AG with having to use its scarce and overstretched resources to defend these entities in court without charge only goes to further impoverish the already under-resourced AG's Office.

The AG must charge these litigant public entities (other than the GOG itself) an appropriate fee for its legal services.

In fact, we need a whole new model for financing the AG's Office. Our AG needs to be very well resourced to do the job it must do. 

The Human Rights Division of the High Court has ordered the Attorney General (AG) and the lawyers for one of the Rastafarian students, Tyron Marhguy, to file their legal submissions on the Achimota School admission saga.

The court, presided over by Lady Gifty Addo, gave the parties up to Wednesday, April 28, 2021, to file their legal arguments to enable the court to sit on Friday, April 30, 2021.