IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE
IN THE HIGH COURT
KUMASI - A.D 2019
GIFTLOVE OSEI ALIAS GIFTLOVE AWUAH - (Plaintiff/Respondent)
ADVANCE GHANA SAVINGS AND LOANS LTD - (Defendant/Applicant)
DATE: 20TH FEBRUARY, 2019
SUIT NO: RPC 34/2019
JUDGES: DR. RICHMOND OSEI-HWERE, J
SHADRACK YEBOAH OBENG FOR PLAINTIFF/RESPONDENT
JOSEPHINE APPIAH FOR RUFINA ACQUAH FOR DEFENDANT/APPLICANT
In this application, the defendant/applicant (hereinafter referred to as the applicant) is praying the court to set aside the default judgment obtained against it. The plaintiff/respondent (hereinafter referred to as the respondent) never filed an affidavit in response to the motion. However, counsel for the respondent made an oral submission on a point of law.
Counsel for the respondent submitted among other things that the process before the court is void because counsel does not have a valid license for the current year as the license endorsed on the process covers only 2018. Counsel also submitted that there is no chamber registration number endorsed on the process and that affects the validity of the process as well.
It is provided under section 8 (1) of the Legal Profession Act, 1960, Act 32 as follows:
"A person, other than the Attorney-General, or an officer of Attorney-General’s department, shall not practice as a solicitor unless that person has in respect of that practice a valid annual solicitor’s license issued by the Council duly stamped and in the form set out in the Second Schedule."
In the case of Henry Nuertey Korboe v Francis Amosa, unreported, Suit No. J4/56/2014, Supreme Court, Accra 21/04/2016, the Supreme Court, by a majority decision, affirmed its earlier ruling in Republic v High Court, Accra; Ex Parte Teriwajah and Henry Nuertey Korboe (REISS & CO GHANA LIMITED) (INTERESTED PARTY) which also bothered on section 8(1) of the Legal Profession Act 1960 (Act 32). By that majority decision, a solicitor who is not qualified to practice within a time frame is prohibited by section 8 of Act 32 to practice, and any process filed without a license should not be given any effect in law. In REPUBLIC v COURT OF APPEAL; EX-PARTE: DAKPEMA ZOBOGNAA & Others (LANDS COMMISSION – INTERESTED PARTY) – Unreported judgment of the Supreme Court dated 5th June 2018, the Supreme Court clarified the position of the law when it held that the mere non-endorsement of a lawyer’s Solicitor’s license on the motion paper did not render the application a nullity. For one to succeed on such a point, he should establish that at the time the motion was prepared and filed by counsel, he had no Solicitor’s license to practice as a lawyer.
On the face of the motion, a 2018 solicitor’s license was endorsed on the motion by counsel for the applicant. When same was challenged no response came from counsel. This implies that counsel has conceded to the point and had no valid license at the time the motion was filed. To the extent that counsel for the applicant herein did not endorse a valid license number on the motion paper and has not demonstrated that it had a valid license at the time the motion was filed, the motion is incompetent.
Both counsel made submissions relating to service of the writ and the validity of the default judgment. I am however unable to consider the arguments to determine the application on merit, in the light of the conclusion that the application is incompetent.
The application is hereby struck out as incompetent. There will be no order as to costs.