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The District Minister of the Tema North Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. George Kwapong, has reminded Judges of their duty to ensure the general public has faith in the court, knowing that they will receive a fair judgment. “I believe, it is only when the public is guaranteed of quality justice by the courts that they can have absolute confidence in the officers that administer justice”.
Rev. George Kwapong made these remarks when he delivered the sermon at a special church service held at The Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Accra to mark the opening of the 60th Legal Year.
The Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, has charged judges and magistrates to explore new ways by which the Judiciary could be financed to guarantee its true independence.
She said that “it has become necessary for the Judiciary to consider additional sources of funding simply because what Government provides is just woefully inadequate”. She stated that both the 15 percent internally generated funds (IGF) and government’s subvention to the Judiciary are inadequate.
The Chief Justice was speaking at the 37th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) held in Accra on the theme: “Judiciary, A Bastion of Democracy”.
A total of 208 newly qualified lawyers have been called to the Bar at a colourful ceremony at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra.
The new lawyers were presented with their Certificates of Enrolment and Qualification after successfully completing a two-year Professional Law Course at the Ghana School of Law.
Eleven of the graduating lawyers received awards for their outstanding performance in various courses. Mr. Isaac Danso Agyiri received the John Mensah Sarbah Prize for being the overall best student.
Addressing the newly qualified lawyers, Her Ladyship the Chief Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, who is also the Chairperson of the General Legal Council, commended them on their achievement but was quick to remind them not to see the completion of their course as the end of their education but rather the beginning of a life long journey.“The road to become Lawyers has not been smooth as you are aware. But, as you must have been told by your lecturers, do not delude yourselves into thinking that your education is now over. This is, in fact, the beginning of your careers as Lawyers; a life that will be a journey from one lesson to another and a life that could take you perhaps in directions and or destinations you cannot predict as you embark on this journey”, she said.
The Chief Justice, Ms. Sophia Akuffo has called on Judges and Lawyers to exhibit excellence in their work to make the administration of justice more efficient and effective.
“Our pursuit of excellence is borne out of a conviction and recognition of the duty we owe to the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose benefit we exercise judicial authority. Our citizens, more than anyone else, deserve a justice delivery system that is easily accessible and works well to protect their lives and property, that is cost and time effective and more importantly, safeguards the integrity of the Republic”, she said.
She was speaking at the opening of the 2017 Annual Conference of the Ghana Bar Association held in Sunyani on the theme “The Developmental Impact of Excellence”.
The Judiciary has been identified as one institution with a sustainable means to tackle illegal mining popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’ in Ghana. According to the Advisory Board of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, despite the number of interventions made to address this problem, the situation remains quite alarming. And it believes Ghana’s judiciary has what it takes to stem the tide. To this end, a Ministerial sub-committee in charge of Lands, Forestry and Mining, led by Nana Prah Agyensaim VI, Paramount Chief of Assin Owienkyi Traditional Area has met with the Chief Justice to discuss the best options to mitigate and stem the illegalities in the sector.
The Chief Justice, Ms. Sophia Akuffo, has challenged young girls to think outside the box to be able to take advantage of opportunities that come their way.
She was addressing the opening of the 2017 Girls Summer Camp at Wesley Girls Senior High School in Cape Coast. The occasion also marked the 10th anniversary of the Forum of Heads of Girls’ Senior High School (FOHGSHS).
The Chief Justice advised the girls to develop their intellectual and spiritual capabilities and to choose good over evil in order to excel.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Madam Otiko Afisah Djabah has paid a courtesy call on the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Sophia Akuffo at her Chambers in Accra. The purpose was to discuss key concerns pertaining to her Ministry and to solicit the support of the Judiciary. It was also to brief the Chief Justice on the state of policies, programmes and legal frameworks relating to the Sector that may need the input of the Judiciary as a key stakeholder in the promotion of the Rule of Law.
They discussed a wide range of issues bothering on child education, streetism, births registration, child marriage, gender diversity, the rape of men, human trafficking, surrogacy and legal aid.
The Chief Justice Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo has indicated the need for the ‘Justice For All programme’ JFAP to continue under her leadership. According to her, there are always suspects who are remanded into prison custody by the courts and this necessitates the continuous sifting of remand cases while looking for other reforms to strengthen the criminal justice system.
The Lady Chief Justice said this when the leadership of POS Foundation an NGO, paid a courtesy call on her to discuss projects being undertaken in collaboration with the Judiciary under the Justice For All Programme. The Chief Justice mentioned ongoing plans for the construction of a remand court in Kumasi with support from DANIDA. This she noted will complement the work on prison decongestion by bringing the law court closer to the prisoner. The CJ entreated POS Foundation to consider advocating the establishment of remand homes close to the courts to help reduce congestion in the country’s prisons.