President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has sworn in ten justices of the High Court – six men and four women – at a ceremony at the Jubilee House in Accra on Monday.
They are Ebenezer Osei-Darko, Bernard Bentil, Alexander Graham, and Mercy AdeiKotei, who were all Circuit Court judges who have been elevated to the Superior Court of Judicature.
The remaining are Mr George Kwame Gyan-Kontoh, Mr Richard Apietu, Mr Eric AnsahAnkomah, Mrs Cynthia Martinson, Dr Mrs Bridget Kafui Antonio-Apedzi and MsNabeelaNaeemaWahab, all private lawyers who have joined the bench.
At the ceremony, President Akufo-Addo expressed confidence in the ability of the judges to help strengthen the judicial system with their impartiality of mind and independence of spirit.
On government’s contribution to the development of the judiciary in the country, he said 60 district courts, 60 bungalows for judges, and three new high courts for three of the six newly created regions would be inaugurated before October.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the government had taken note of the inadequate numbers of courts in various parts of the country, resulting in citizens travelling long distances to gain access to courts, and has decided to remedy this situation.
He said through the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund, the government was constructing 100 new courts and bungalows for judges in all 16 regions of the country.
“Sixty per cent of these courts and bungalows have been completed, and will be inaugurated before the start of the legal year in October. The remaining 40 per cent will be duly completed and inaugurated by the end of the first quarter of 2023,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
“Six new Regional High Courts are also being constructed in the newly created regions, i.e., Ahafo, Bono East, North East, Oti, Savannah and Western North. Three of the courts, that are those in Ahafo, Bono East and Otiregions, will be completed and ready for inauguration, again, before October. The other three, that is those in North East, Savannah and Western North, which are at 80 per cent completion, will be ready for inauguration by the end of the first quarter of 2023,” he said
With the High Court described as a superior court of record, with original, general jurisdiction as a tribunal of first instance, President Akufo-Addo told the new judges to exhibit honesty, integrity and a sound knowledge of the law.
“A corrupt or incompetent judge is a danger to the public interest and judicial administration. The situation, where judges proffer judgements on the basis of decisions from lower courts and cite them as law, is not acceptable, and even less so, when judges cite no authority at all for their rulings, and give orders without reasons,” he added.
The President continued, “You must be learned, know your case law and ensure your decisions and judgements are properly motivated. The principle of stare decisis, the ancient common law doctrine of precedent, has been, and continues to be the time-honoured foundation for the coherent development of the law, and should not be lightly discarded.”
BY YAW KYEI