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His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, has charged the newly sworn-in High Court Judges to work without fear or favour and uphold the words of the judicial oath in dispensing justice.

“Let me use this occasion to repeat that the dispensation of justice requires that application of the laws of the land, must occur in the hallowed words of the judicial oath – without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. That is, without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any person,” he said.  

Speaking at the swearing-in of seven (7) High Court Judges at the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo indicated his commitment to fighting corruption. He cautioned that, “any Judge found to have misconducted himself or herself should know that he or she would face the law”.

The President further told the Judges, “you must be learned, know your case law and ensure your judgments are properly motivated. The principle of stare decisis, the ancient common law doctrine of precedent, has been, and continues to be the time honoured foundation for the coherent development of the law, and should not be lightly discarded”.

Her Ladyship the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo, has advised Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to ensure that their budgets have a specific allocation for developing and sustaining Courts in their various metropolis, municipalities and districts.

She was speaking at the 11th edition of the Annual Chief Justice’s Forum in Accra, on the theme “Quality Justice at the District Level” where she reminded them of their responsibility in providing properly built Court buildings and accommodation for Judges and Magistrates.

The Chief Justice reiterated her decision not to inaugurate Court buildings that do not have accompanying accommodation for the resident Judge or Magistrate. “Courts would not be inaugurated without accompanying accommodation for Judges and Magistrates. It is unhealthy for Judges and Magistrates to travel long distances to work, yet they are compelled to do so”, she said.

Justice Sophia Akuffo also reaffirmed her decision to close down all Court buildings across the country that are in a deplorable state by the end of the year. 

The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Sophia A. B Akuffo, has advised young people to serve Ghana with integrity and be committed to its growth.

“As a fledgling constitutional democracy with a growing economy, there is no end to the avenues in which the law can be applied to serve the state and the citizens in it. We need diligent practitioners to help protect the rights of citizens, mediate conflicts and settle disputes. Whether you choose the Bench or the Bar, your main preoccupation must be to serve the nation with integrity and the wholehearted commitment to its growth”, she said.

Justice Sophia Akuffo was speaking on the theme “I Pledge Myself to the Service of Ghana”, at 11th edition of the Chief Justice’s Annual Mentoring Programme held in Accra.

The Paperless Court system under the e-justice project has been kick started after four courts at the Law Court Complex in Accra went live on Wednesday, the 4th of July, 2018.

The e-justice project – an initiative of the Government of Ghana seeks to automate the existing manual filing system within court registries across the country. The project is currently being piloted at the Law Court Complex.

Court proceedings under the e-justice project commenced at 9:00 a.m. at the Commercial Court ‘3’, Land Court ‘8’, Criminal Court ‘4’ and Labour Court ‘1’ with two ICT personnel assigned to each of the four courts to assist in addressing any challenges as is the case with the introduction of any new system.

The registrars of the four courts were enthusiastic about the whole exercise and expressed delight at the transition from the manual to the electronic filing system.

To help increase the Judicial Service’s capacity and reach in receiving and dealing with public complaints about members of the Judiciary, staff and services rendered, the European Union, EU, through its Anti-corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability Programme, ARAP, has presented some office equipment and communication materials to the Service.

The items are meant for distribution across regional offices of the Public Relations and Complaints Unit (PRCU) to be set up, in addition to the already existing ones in Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi. They include 10 computers and their accessories, 10 Internet Routers and Uninterruptible Power Sources, nine printers and telephone sets, as well as seven sets of office furniture which will be delivered later. In addition, ARAP has printed about 975 PRCU operational guidelines already developed by the Danish International Development Agency, DANIDA, for the yet to be trained staff of these Units and members of the Judiciary.  

The EU Head of Cooperation, Mr. Zoltan Agai, who presented the items to the Judicial Secretary at a short ceremony in Accra, acknowledged the strong commitment of the Ghanaian Judiciary to deal with complaints effectively with the actual set up of 10 Complaint Units accessible to citizens across the country. He announced that ARAP’s support to the Judiciary will go beyond the Complaints Unit. “There is a work stream aimed at strengthening the capacity of Judges to deal with cases of corruption, and the other one focuses on developing a ‘web based legal library’, for which we hope to see prototype available soon” he added.

The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo, has warned Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, that the Judiciary may be forced to shut down courthouses sharing facilities with other organizations should they fail to relocate them to purpose-built structures within stipulated times.

“Courthouses must be stand-alone structures that are well built and fenced to demarcate them from the surrounding neighbourhood. In this regard, I also want to emphasize that courts housed in premises shared with other organizations and institutions are totally unacceptable and I have had to stress to other Assemblies elsewhere that short of relocation to more purpose-built accommodation with stipulated times, the offending courts will have to be shut down,” she said.

The Chief Justice was speaking at the inauguration of a Court Complex in the Nsawam Adoagyiri Municipality, which houses a High Court as well as Circuit and District Courts.

The Judicial Service has provided further proof of its commitment to the vision of  delivering quality justice with the launch of Ghana’s first integrated Criminal Justice Case-Tracking System, code named ‘Ghana CTS’.

The Case Tracking System Project whose implementation is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will collate data from the Judicial Service, Attorney-General’s Department via the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Legal Aid Scheme and the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), and allow the stakeholders in the justice sector to track cases from their initiation to eventual completion. This will ultimately speed up trials in the courts.

The Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who was the Special Guest of Honour for the event, said that the System would boost investor confidence and help address bottlenecks in Ghana’s justice delivery system.

E-Justice is here at last, as the Judiciary and the Judicial Service of Ghana go paperless; but first as a ‘proof of concept’ pilot project at the Law Court Complex in Accra, which houses 44 High Courts.

What is e-Justice?

E-Justice, otherwise referred to as the Paperless Courts or Electronic Case Management System (ECMS), forms part of the Government of Ghana        e-Transform Programme that seeks to automate the manual filing systems within the Court’s Registry, i.e. from filing of cases to the execution of court decisions. Turnaround time on the adjudication of cases would thus be improved and justice delivery, enhanced.

As a registered Business Partner (BP), the e-Justice system will enable a court user to electronically file cases and complaints, and track their status, as well as make online and mobile money payments for court transactions. It also makes room for a court user to get instant notifications of all adjournments via short message service (SMS) and email, as well as receive instant alerts on all court-related transactions.

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