The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll, has called on the judiciary to continue to expand the frontiers of justice, open up access to more citizens and ensure that the law becomes a natural recourse for citizens in search of resolution and justice.
“Indeed, the judiciary is of no constitutional relevance if the ordinary people of Ghana, on whose behalf justice is administered, are unable to access its infrastructure and participate in its work,” he underlined.
According to the Asantehene, “the more citizens trust the law and the court system, the less likely they are to take matters in their own hands or seek other ways to achieve the ends of justice, which is the constitutional preserve of the Judiciary”.
He said these in a speech read on his behalf by the Asante Mampong Paramount Chief, Daasebre Osei Bonsu, at this year’s Chief Justice’s Forum here yesterday.
Present were representation from the judicial service, both its judicial and administrative capacities, the House of Chiefs, Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State, local authorities, the Security Services, Non-Governmental Organisations, the Ghana Bar Association, Academia, Commerce and Industry, Faith-based organisations, and a cross section of citizens.
It was under the theme “Improving Access to Justice in A Pandemic Through The Use of Technology”.
The forum brought together all relevant stakeholders to discuss the state of justice delivery and explore the improvements and interventions which were necessary to guarantee continuous freedom and justice for all people in a timely and efficient manner.
The Asantehene was full of praise for the Judicial Service for managing the COVID-19 situation extremely well and ensured that the profession was able to undertake its duties with minimum disruption while protecting health and securing lives.
“In the face of a glaring threat of death and devastation, the judicial service of Ghana remained committed to its mandate of providing effective justice for the good people of Ghana.
Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, on his part, noted the theme resonated with the ongoing debate on the intersection between public health, law, justice and technology, resulting from the disruptions occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic.
He said Ghana had come very far in her democratic journey, and “I do not foresee a time where Freedom, Rule of Law and Justice would take leave of our Motherland, Ghana”.
“It is thus important to strike a balance between remaining committed to our mandate of delivering justice, while managing the pandemic and its resultant disruptions within the context of existing financial, infrastructural, administrative and human resource constraints. This is where technology comes in”, the Chief Justice underlined.
Technology, he noted, has afforded judiciary an opportunity to cut cost, be more efficient, and avoid unnecessary delays in administering justice.
“For the first time in the history of the judiciary this year, vacation courts in Accra held virtual sittings. This meant that lawyers who were even abroad on vacation could participate remotely”, he stressed.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI