PROCESS FOR FILING CASES

Introduction
To begin with, all fees charged by the various courts – Supreme, Court of Appeal, High, Circuit and District and are governed by the Civil Proceedings (Fees and Allowances) Amendment Rules referred to as C. I. 86.  This schedule of fees came into force on 4th December, 2014 but its implementation by the various courts commenced from 1st March, 2015.  Its predecessor was the C. I. 55.
 
The procedure for filing processes is between the court filing clerk and the cashier at the bank.  In Accra, Ecobank is responsible for receiving monies on behalf of the Judicial Service.
 
Start of the Process
The process starts with a client bringing the process he/she wants to file to the court.  On the presentation of the process to the court filing clerk, he/she must first and foremost ascertain whether the process to be filed belongs to his/her court, he/she does this by looking at the suit no. 
 
Where the process is new or fresh, with his/her knowledge in filing and the scheduled fees as guidance, he/she would be able to determine whether it is for that court.  In this regard, it is imperative to discuss the jurisdiction of the various courts especially the District, Circuit and High Courts.
 
District Court
The jurisdiction of the District Court is up to Gh¢20,000.00.  It follows consequentially that a case which is above this stipulated amount should not be filed at the District Court.
 
Circuit Court
With respect to the Circuit Court, its jurisdiction does not exceed Gh¢50,000.00.  In effect, writs that exceed this amount must not be filed in this court. 
 
High Court
All processes filed at the Circuit and the High Courts’ bear the same fees.  For instance, an appearance costs GH¢50.00 in the Circuit Court as well as the High Court or a divorce petition costs GH¢50.00 at the Circuit and the High Courts.  Of course, it must be emphasized that filing writs at the Commercial Courts differs slightly from the other High Courts. 
 
The source of this differentiation can be traced to the provision of the C. I. 47 or the High Court Civil Procedure Rules was abrogated by the C. I. 55. Again, under the C. I. 55, the fees charged were a little higher than that of the High Courts due to its automation and other services rendered by that court.
 
To illustrate this difference whilst a writ which exceeds Gh¢50,000.00 attracts a fee of GH¢1,000.00 at the Commercial Court,  the other High Courts charge Gh¢500.00.  It is instructive to note that besides writs and statements of claim all other fees are the same.
 
Court of Appeal
Any court user desirous of appealing against any decision to the Court of Appeal should start the filing of the appeal process from the court that dealt with the case. 
 
Supreme Court
By their nature, processes filed at the Supreme Court are slightly higher in fees than the other courts. For instance whilst a petition against a Parliamentarian attracts a fee of Gh¢2,000.00, that against the President is Gh¢5,000.00.  Again, whilst an exhibit attracts Gh¢10.00 at the Court of Appeal, an exhibit at the Supreme Court attracts a fee of GH¢20.00.
 
Assessment of Fees
When the court filing clerk is satisfied that based on the suit number, the process should be filed in that particular court, he then checks the type of process to be filed, e.g. statement of defence, application for direction, to name a few.
 
With the expertise and knowledge acquired in the schedule of fees, he/she then starts by using his assessment stamps.  Where the process is on notice or is to be served, he/she stamps on the process twice.  One of the assessments goes to the revenue account and the second goes to the deposit account.
 
Pay-In-Slip
After the court filing clerk has indicated how much fees are to be charged, he issues the client with a pay-in-slip from the Ecobank which is in his custody.  As enunciated earlier, the Ecobank receives all monies for fees on behalf of the Judicial Service in Accra.  The pay-in-slip booklet is in triplicate.  The court filing clerk indicates the suit number, if any, at times the title of the case, the amount for revenue and again quotes the account number for the court.
 
It is essential at this juncture to state that all the courts have different account numbers.  This difference is done to facilitate reconciliation as well as audit purposes.  The filing clerk then hands over these pay-in-slips which is the original and the duplicate to the court user.  The court user then submits the pay-in-slips to the cashier at the Ecobank.  The bank cheque then indicates to the client how much he/she should pay.
 
Upon receipt of the money, the bank cashier stamps the process with the stamp indicating that he/she has indeed received the money.  He/she retains the original of the pay-in-slip and then hands over the stamped duplicate copy to the court user who in turn brings it back to the court filing clerk for filing.  It is also crucial that the bank’s cashier stamps the process in addition.
 
When the court user has returned the process as well as the duplicate pay-in-slip to the filing clerk, he/she must also ascertain whether the process and the pay-in-slip have been stamped by the bank’s cashier.  At times, there is more than one cashier at the bank and so the number of the cashier is indicated on the stamp as well as the date of receipt of the payment.  Thus, the court filing clerk should at any point in time know the cashier/s and the number/numbers to avoid any imitation.  Upon satisfying himself/herself of the payment, the court cashier files the process.
 
General Counterfoil Receipt
When the court filing clerk has completed the filing, he/she then proceeds to write and issue a General Counterfoil Receipt or GCR stating the amount charged for revenue in his/her revenue receipt and the type of process.  If the process is to be served, he/she issues out a deposit receipt.  In effect, if a process is to be served the court filing clerk is enjoined to issue two counterfoil receipts, one for revenue and the other for deposit which is meant for the process servers.
The court filing clerk then records the receipt numbers on the process. 
 
On the original document he/she indicates the receipt number for the revenue and date likewise the charges for the deposit.  The court filing clerk also writes the receipt number on the copy for service and the date.  This indication assists the process servers when making their monthly returns.  The cashier then hands over the clients copy and the counterfoil receipts to the client.
 
At times, payments are made to the courts in satisfaction of judgments.  This normally comes in the form of a notice of payment to court.  It is advisable that besides the deposit receipt, court cashiers should have a separate receipt book for these payments.  The payment also includes payments made by auctioneers who sell properties or various items on the instructions of the court.
 
Conclusion
It is very essential to state the mode of payment.  Court fees are paid with a bankers draft, a payment order by cash.  Personal cheques are unacceptable as a means of paying for processes filed and cashiers need to take note of this.  Personal cheques are not acceptable because there is the likelihood that it may be dishonoured or court users may tempted to use postdated cheques.
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