*By Victoria Barth
My daily routine as a lawyer involves in-person contact, ranging around client interviews, conferences and meetings, constant interactions with colleagues, brainstorming sessions, and interactions with support staff—all of which are critical to the running of a successful law firm. With the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, protocols for in-person meetings with clients had to be reconsidered, with as many as possible being achieved through virtual meetings and over the telephone.
Assessing the Impact of the Coronavirus Restructuring on the Legal Profession in Ghana
Legal practice in Ghana was not exempted from the restrictions imposed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo under the Imposition of Restrictions Act 2020 (Act 1012). Pursuant to powers in Act 1012, Executive Instrument 65 was announced, which imposed restrictions on movement in the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Areas. Although members of the judiciary were exempted from the lockdown, lawyers were not deemed as “essential” services to be granted an exemption. Following the President’s orders, the Chief Justice issued a press release under SCR 176; clarifying how the judiciary was going to function under the lockdown measures. While some courts were going to be functioning, and judicial staff would be working, lawyers, litigants and court users were included in the restrictions imposed. Paradoxically, it was not clear how well the judicial system would function without lawyers and litigants.