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His Majesty Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panyin, has shown commitment to the Judiciary’s vision of quality justice by providing a modern fit for purpose Court Complex for the administration of justice.
The Court Complex, situated in Kyebi, the traditional capital of Akyem Abuakwa, houses a High Court, Circuit Court and District Court. Each Court has a Registrar’s office, general office and chamber for the Judges and Magistrate.
A Supreme Court Judge Nominee, Professor Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotei, has called for a creative reduction of the Supreme Court’s extensive jurisdiction, to curtail delays as he believes the apex Court is quite overworked.
”The Supreme Court is struggling to discharge its obligations because of its very extensive jurisdiction, so we must look at ways of creatively reducing its jurisdiction otherwise we need more Judges. I am not in favour of keeping the jurisdiction and increasing numbers. I am rather in favour of seeking ways of reducing the extensive jurisdiction of the Court. Only then can we look at the numbers,” he said.
A Supreme Court Judge nominee, Justice Agnes Mercy Abla Dordzie has called on government to ensure adequate funding for the new e-justice system being piloted at the Law Court Complex in Accra and roll it out across the country to improve access, timely and quality justice delivery.
Speaking before Parliament’s Appointments Committee, following her nomination to the Supreme Court, Justice Dordzie said the Paperless Courts would help address the delays in Court processes, loss of documentation (dockets), duplication of suit numbers and other related problems that confront the Courts.
She also expressed concern about the quality of investigations conducted by the police before prosecution, adding that the kind of police investigators she worked with in her days in Koforidua are admirable and worth emulating by present investigators.
As a boost to the cause of quality justice delivery, a change of policy has seen nine (9) Career Magistrates elevated and sworn-in as Professional Magistrates, after obtaining the professional law degree.
The newly sworn-in Professional Magistrates are Her Worship Aliata Saeed, His Worship Osman Abdul-Hakeem, Her Worship Juliet Osei Duedu, His Worship Divine Kwaku Ahiadu and His Worship Eric Daning. The rest are Her Worship Linda Amissah, Her Worship Priscilla Yeboah, His Worship Kweku Baah Frempong and His Worship Kofi Owusu Sekyere.
They took the Oath of Allegiance, Judicial Oath and Oath of Secrecy, which were administered by the Chief Justice.
Speaking at the brief ceremony, the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo advised them to strictly adhere to the Code of Conduct for Judges and Magistrates and not to please anyone. “It is not our job to please, but if done right, our decisions must bring satisfaction. This requires extreme dedication, integrity and unyielding adherence to the Code of Conduct for Judges and Magistrates”, she said.
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.