Back to the basics

As per the itinerary, Wednesday was spent mainly indoors. We were given materials on contract law and Ghanaian succession law which we had to read, summarise and explain to the FLAP workers. We had about two hours to prepare the summary. Ghanaian law follows common law akin to that of the UK hence explaining concepts in contract law was bound to be more familiar and less tricky. Succession law is however partially shrouded in customary law of which we were unaware of. Uncertain as to whether the succession rules on hand were current we had to undertake research. Axel and I handled succession law whilst Vidette dealt with summarising contract law. The opportunity to teach the workers, on contract law particularly, felt like a true assessment of all that I had studied over the past academic session and how relative it would actually be.

Vidette led the contract law presentation, Axel and I chimed in with important bits and I wrote core contractual concepts on the board. It was rewarding to see how effectively I could recall contractual concepts as if the very knowledge of these concepts was innate. There is no thrill comparable to having knowledge or expertise in a particular field and being able to use that expressly to advice or help another. It gave me an insight as to what I will be doing as a lawyer and I loved every moment of it. The workers threw multiple questions at us which we were able to answer effectively based on the law. There was not a single question on contract law posed to the volunteers that either of us was unable to answer. The issue of oral contracts and resolving a breach thereof was quite common and accordingly we advised the workers to document any contract they would thereafter enter into. We offered practical examples of how an agreement to agree is not a contract; how a contract can be voidable due to a misrepresentation as well as what happens when a contract is frustrated. There was not enough time to teach the workers about succession law. However, it was truly a delight to teach the FLAP workers the rudiments of contract law.

The next time we went back to the basics was in an actual classroom of the local school we had been to the previous week. That Thursday afternoon, the pupils were elated to see familiar faces with which they had earlier bonded. As a show of affection, we were greeted at the door with grins and big hugs. We quietened down the class in order to start with our mission for the day: educating the pupils on child labour. Before venturing into a new area we asked the pupils questions on what they had learnt the week before and quickly brushed up on the rights of a child touching specifically on what children actually need. Each pupil had to come up to the blackboard and write down what they believed was essential to a child’s well-being. Sweets were handed out to the pupils who identified uncommon but significant needs of a child. I effectively explained to the pupils the distinction between needs and wants.

After that explanation, Vidette and I began to break down concepts of Child Labour to the pupils. Their response to the topic was impressive. Inasmuch as their intelligence had been on full display the last time we visited the school the pupils still managed to impress us with their aptitude on what constitutes child labour. Some core issues including the minimum age one has to be in order to engage in labour as a child as well as the statutes that dictate such labour were addressed. There was a quiz held afterwards and the pupils were tested on what they had learnt. More sweets were handed out to the pupils that answered correctly. After our mission was completed, we said our goodbyes to the wonderful children and set off to catch up with Axel.

Axel had hitherto gone to meet up with the District Commander at James Town as scheduled. The district commander had requested some documents including a license which our hit-and-run victim did not have. Axel then returned to the Old Fadama police station to see the station manager and that is where we all met up. We informed the station manager about the victim’s girlfriend who had come to see us with the victim’s mother and could effectively serve as a witness. The station manager informed us that the perpetrator would be around the next day. He, the victim and some police officers would then proceed to the scene of the crime to take measurements and try to ascertain who was responsible for the accident. Although at a snail’s pace, things appeared to be moving forward and we left the police station that day still clinging to the hope of justice being served.