The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, has said the Judicial Council is determined to fish out and deal with corrupt law professionals to restore public confidence in the Judiciary.
She observed that the pervasive corruption and recent scandal that had hit the service had eroded public confidence in its mandate to deliver justice, hence the council had doubled its efforts to tackle the situation.
“Many judges, lawyers and other legal professional have become unbridled business persons whose desires are to maximise profit and amass wealth at the expense of professional and ethical behaviour”, she stated at a ceremony in Accra on Friday to enroll new lawyers to the bar.
In all, 219 lawyers, including 128 females, were called to the Ghana bar after successfully completing various programmes at the Ghana School of Law.
The Chief Justice, assisted by the Attorney General, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, presented certificates to the applicants, and special awards to deserving students.
Justice Wood described the ethical behaviour of some judges and legal professionals as questionable and appalling, and pledged to ensure that disciplinary actions were taken against them.
“Allegations of bribery and corruption in the judiciary and the legal profession in general are at an all time high, and public confidence at an all time low.
“The recent scandal to hit the judiciary, which is the subject of ongoing internal investigation, has brought into sharp focus the need for us, indeed each member of the legal fraternity, to take an introspective view of ourselves as an institution,” she stated.
According to the Chief Justice, such sober reflection would help identify where the judiciary had fallen short, stagnated or even regressed, and hence fashion appropriate remedial measures that would diminish, if not totally extinguish, the possibility of a future re-currence.
“But beyond the introspection and internal institutional remedial mechanisms, it must be emphasized that the burden of sanitizing the judiciary could neither be the exclusive responsibility of the Chief justice”, she said, pointing out that such herculean task would require the political will and collective efforts of key actors in the administration of justice, including the institution itself, as well as the public
“Concretely, we must as individuals commit to do what is right to avoid creating fertile situations for abuse, misconduct and corruption within the chain of the administration of justice”, she said, adding “The Judicial Council has been unrelenting in our pursuit to build a robust and trustworthy judiciary. We have ensured, among other things that disciplinary actions have been taken against judges who have been found to have indulged in unethical or unprofessional behaviour”.
According to her, the same could be said of the General Legal Council, which had been most active in recent years than it had been in its many years of existence, by ensuring that disciplinary actions were taken against offending lawyers.
“As I speak, there are pending disciplinary proceedings against lawyers for various offences and complaints. And so, it must be made clear to those amongst you herein graduating, who intend on engaging in unprofessional behaviour and sharp practice that the long arm of the council awaits you”, she warned.
Mrs Wood noted that the Council was also determined that no dishonourable member of the profession would enjoy immunity or impunity.
She, therefore, called on the new lawyers to demonstrate professionalism in their line of duty.
By Charles Amankwa & Benedicta Folley