C.J. urges Judiciary to exude integrity, faithfulness

A group photograph of the SRC executives and the dignitories at the launching Photo Michael AyehThe 56th Annual Law Week Celebration of the Ghana School of Law was opened yesterday with a call on the Judicial Service to exude integrity, faithfulness and a sense of morality in its operations.

Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, who made the call, urged the judiciary to administer justice through the process of transparency and openness to enhance public confidence in the rule of law.

She noted with concern, the situation in which many Ghanaians have perceived the service as being corrupt saying, “When citizens do not trust legal and law enforcing institutions, as we now find from listening to the media and surveys, then the access to justice has been endangered and the probability for citizens to use other means to address their grievances become high”.

Justice Wood said these in a speech read on her behalf by an Appeal Court Judge, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo at the opening ceremony in Accra.

This year’s celebration is being held on the theme, “Importance of integrity in the justice delivery: the role of the bench and the bar”.

As part of the celebration, the Students Representative Council (SRC), will hold outreach programmes for some selected schools in Accra and market women, as well as the Re-Akoto Memorial Lectures in Kumasi, under the patronage of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene.

There will also be a lecture to be delivered by Professor Bondzie Simpson founding Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Coast.

Justice Wood said the appropriate time to inculcate a commitment to integrity in justice delivery is during the training of legal professionals at the Ghana School of Law.

She said “It is when the lack of commitment to honour values and principles festers at training level and the excellence in the practice of the profession is sacrificed on the altar of unruly and shady practices, that the rule of law is so endangered for all and sundry”.

According to her, it is not the array of machinery of technology that would assure justice, but integrity in the management of justice delivery.

“It does not matter how well resourced any libraries, courts, law chambers or institution is, if the people managing the legal system do not have a commitment to fidelity, truth, coherent, and wholesome outcomes, the nation does not have an assurance of accessing justice”, she said.

Justice Wood also bemoaned the level of perceived corruption in the country, and called for a change in the manner public officials and institutions conduct themselves.

She observed that the country is standing at a “precipice, teetering from a lack of integrity in public life”, therefore the need for society to grasp integrity and other useful values that promote national development.

The SRC president, Mr. Isaac Yaw Boamah-Nyarko, noted that the legal profession has had its down side in recent times but expressed the hope for golden moments in the near future.

He said though the profession had massively contributed to strengthen democracy in the country, it is faced with the situation in which “the masses associate tendencies such as corruption, dishonesty, fraud, physical abuse, oppression of clients, suicides, and indulgence in other related criminal offences to the profession”.

Mr. Boamah-Nyarko said, it is out of place for some practitioners to use the profession to perpetuate evil.

By Charles Amankwa & Mavis Menano       

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