Justice S. K. Date-Bah, ex-Supreme Court judge lectures on evolution of business law in Ghana

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
Justice S. K. Date-Bah
Justice S. K. Date-Bah

A retired Supreme Court judge, Prof. Justice S. K. Date-Bah will on November 5, 2018, deliver a lecture on the evolution of business law in Ghana.

The lecture on the theme: “reflections on the evolution of business law in Ghana since independence,” will be delivered at the auditorium of the University of Ghana School of Law at 4 pm.

The Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo is the Chairperson for the occasion.

Prof. Date-Bah told the Daily Graphic that contract law and company law dominate the lecture.

“The lecture offers an overview of the evolution of business law in Ghana since independence. As the area covered by business law is very broad, the lecture selects two main areas of focus, namely, the law of contracts and the law of business units.

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“Contract law constitutes the substrate of much of business law and is thus a primary candidate for attention in any discussion of business law. Companies, partnerships and sole proprietorships (whether with registered business names or not) are also fundamental to business law since they are the means through which business people participate in the economy and run their enterprises,” Prof Justice Date-Bah explained.

He said the reform of the common law of contract through the Contracts Act, 1960 will be captured in the lecture.

“It is shown that the modification of the doctrine of consideration and other reforms introduced by the Act have enhanced Ghanaian contract law’s fitness to serve the purpose of business people. Some account of the evolution of contract law through case law is also given,” Prof Justice Date-Bah pointed out.

Company Law

With respect to company law, the lecture briefly highlights the main reforms introduced by the Companies Code, 1963.

He said additionally, it analyses aspects of the further evolution of company law doctrine contained in the Companies Bill 2018.

According to Prof Date-Bah, the abolition of the worst parts of the ultra vires doctrine and of the evolution of doctrine in relation to the protection of the rights of minorities and individual members of companies will also be tackled.

“Attention is drawn to Professor Gower’s innovative thought in recommending the notion of the incorporated private partnership and a question posed as to why it has not had much success in practice,” he stated.

He said the lecture will conclude that the reforms in contract law and company law carried out by government in the early years of Ghana’s independence have laid a solid foundation for the development of business law in this country.

Prof Date-Bah stressed that business law, of course, has to continue to evolve in response to changing circumstances.

“Government has to monitor the business environment and provide the right regulatory environment. This implies both proactive and reactive action by Government. Consequently, administrative law and regulatory interventions by Government have played and will increasingly play a role in business law,” Prof Justice Date-Bah concluded.


Prof Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah’s career has spanned academic, legal advisory and judicial roles at the national and international levels.

He has taught Law at the University of Ghana, University of Nairobi, Kenya, and the University of Calabar, Nigeria.

He was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana from 2003 to 2013.

Prior to that, he served as a Special Adviser (Legal) at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, from 1984.

From 2008 he chaired the Business Law Reform Committee of Experts set up by the Government of Ghana whose work has resulted in the Companies Bill 2018.

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