Justice Date-Bah Retires As Supreme Court Judge

Justice Date-BahProfessor Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, on Friday hanged his legal wig and robe ahead of his retirement on August 26, 10 years after his appointment as a Supreme Court Judge.

He announced his retirement on Friday after delivering his last valedictory judgement on a matrimonial case involving a former Ghanaian footballer, before 10 other Supreme Court Judges.

“I must place on record that it has been a rare and fruitful privilege to have served on the Supreme Court of Ghana; a Supreme Court like no other given the multiplicity of its jurisdictions,” he concluded as he bows out as a Supreme Court judge.
Prof. Date-Bah, who qualified as a barrister at law in Ghana in 1966 having obtained a Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Ghana the previous year, was appointed to the Supreme Court  on September 16, 2003.

He obtained his Master of Law Degree from the Yale Law School in 1967 and had his Doctor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics in 1969.

He officially retired on February 26, this year, but was granted a six months extension as per Article 145 (2b) of the 1992 Constitution, which expires on August 26, this year.

Justice William A. Atuguba, a Supreme Court Judge, in a message, described his colleague as an “illustrious brother”, adding “it is our obligation to do honour to our illustrious brother whom I have appropriately nick-named Lord Halsbury of Ghana”.
Present for the valedictory judgement were Justices Julius Ansah, Mrs.Sophia Adinyira, Ms.Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Annin Yeboah, Paul Baffoe Bonnie, Sule N. Gbadegbe, Vida Akoto-Bamfo and A.A. Bennin.

Justice Atuguba, speaking on behalf of the other judges, said although the entire Supreme Court was happy for his judicial delivery, it was unfortunate that a judge of his status and with such wealth of experience, was retiring.
Justice Atuguba, thus, underscored the need for an exception to the tenure of judges in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court when it comes to the retiring age.

“His status is such, in the legal profession and having regard to his judicial delivery, that there ought to be an exception to the tenure of the judicial office, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court level,” Justice Atuguba said.
“Unfortunately, the constitution was framed prophetically per incuriam so it is not arrestable. I wish him very well. He will continue chalking first classes for us in the legal profession,” he concluded.

He said Prof. Date-Bah, who joined the Bench with first class distinction, “has always been a man with first class achievement”.
A lawyer whose case Prof. Date-Bah delivered the valedictory judgement, Mrs. M.Y.N Acheampong, shared the moments when she was in Achimota School with Prof. Date-Bah.

“It just happened that I happen to know you from Achimota. You happened to be one year my senior but we were all prefects together before I became prefect with my own mates Prof. Mills and others, so that shows that I know you very well and I know the calibre of person you are,” she said.

“You have always been a first class achiever and I know even in death, you may be a first class achiever there. We should thank God for giving us such a person for the judiciary and the whole country,” she said.

Mrs. Acheampong said what Prof. Date-Bah had done in his career as a Supreme Court judge would go down in history for generations of lawyers who would come to refer to him. “Even though you are leaving the judiciary today, we know you are still going to contribute until the day the Almighty calls you to rest.”
“We pray that everything will go on well with you from here and that at the end of the day we will still be proud of you first, as a product of Achimota and a product of other places and the judiciary,” she said.

Prof. Date-Bah was, in 2008, appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of The Gambia. Between 1984 and 2003, he was a special adviser (Legal) at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, where he was responsible for effective legal advisory and negotiating services to developing member states of the Commonwealth.

He taught Contract, Tort, Commercial Law and Public International Law between 1969 and 1984. Prof. Date-Bah has since 2000 been a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and a Sciences and Member of the International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law since 1996. He has extensive publications on Ghanaian law and international commercial law. –  Stephen Kwabena Effah

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