20th MARCH 2020
MEASURES BY THE JUDICIARY TO DECONGEST THE COURTS TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN COURTS NATIONWIDE
On 16th March 2020, the Judiciary issued a statement on the measures that had been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Courts across the Country.
In implementing these measures, it has become apparent that there is a need to issue additional directives to ensure that the Courts are sufficiently decongested in line with the social distancing directives issued by His Excellency the President.
We are operating in very unusual times with no precedents to guide us. It is therefore imperative that all Stakeholders in the Justice delivery system work together to ensure that the needs of the citizenry for Justice are adequately satisfied.
To this end we will urge the Bar to request its members to undertake the following:
- To attend Court without their clients and request long adjournments of cases to be listed for hearing at the end of May, June or July 2020.
The cases will be adjourned to specific dates and times in line with the earlier case management directive issued.
Alternatively, Lawyers on both sides of a case may agree together to adjourn the matter to a specific date to be communicated to the Registrar in writing, thus avoiding the need to travel to the Court for that purpose.
The Judiciary is to undertake the following:
- Judges and Magistrates should ensure that in Part-heard cases, only Lawyers, Parties and their witnesses are allowed in Court.
- Judges and Magistrates should ensure that in other cases only Lawyers and parties are allowed in Court.
- Only parties in a case with their Lawyers may enter the Court room, when the specific case is called.
- Judges and Magistrates should be flexible in granting adjournments during this period.
- Judges and Magistrates should grant long adjournments in matters which do not require immediate resolution.
- Registrars should bear this directives in mind in fixing dates in order to decongest the Courts.
- These directives are supplemental to the directives issued on 16th March 2020.
We believe that these additional measures will go a long way in decongesting the Courts and consequently prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Once again the cooperation of all Court Users / Stakeholders and the general public will be greatly appreciated.
HIS LORDSHIP JUSTICE ANIN YEBOAH