Don’t unduly delay cases - Akufo-Addo urges judiciary
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the Judiciary not to unduly delay cases, saying such practice had projected the country as a destination of long litigations.
He said judges had been well resourced with case management tools to be effective leaders of their courtrooms and must, therefore, change “the unfortunate situation that affects the attractiveness of the country as an investment destination”.
President Akufo-Addo was speaking after swearing in two female justices of the High Court at the Jubilee House in Accra last Monday.
After the introduction of the two judges — Justice Dorothy Ayodele Kingsley-Nyinah and Justice Ama Sekyere Ayittey, the President administered the Oath of Allegiance, Judicial Oath and the Oath of Secrecy in succession to them.
He later presented them with the Instrument of Appointment, draped in the national colours of red, gold and green, after which they signed the Oath Book, which President Akufo-Addo also signed to seal the investiture.
The two were selected upon the advice of the Judicial Council in accordance with the provisions of Article 144 Clause Three of the Constitution.
The investiture was witnessed by government officials, senior members of the bench and Bar, and family and friends, among others.
This is the seventh time since January 2017, that the President had sworn in judges of the superior courts.
Tracing the root cause of the undue delay in justice delivery, President Akufo-Addo said until now, it was understood that the common law judge was an independent arbiter who allowed the parties to dictate the pace of cases.
He, however, said that such delays had been addressed with the provision of case management in Constitutional Instrument 47 of 2004, including current reforms as contained in Constitutional Instrument 87, in which examination in chief was given in the form of witness statements.
The President added that even more extensive was the requirement of presenting an accused person with all the evidence and exhibits for prosecution.
He further stressed that the dispensation of justice required that the application of the laws of the land must occur without fear or favour, affection or ill will, and without recourse to political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any persons before the court.
President Akufo-Addo further said: “When a person falls foul of the law, that person, high or low, must be dealt with accordingly and the law enforcement agencies, including you our new judges, must ensure that is done.”
“That is the true meaning of the concept of equality before the law,” he added.
The President admonished the judges to be learned, know their case law and also ensure their judgements and decisions were properly motivated and abreast of common law and the doctrine of precedent.
He added that it was the responsibility of the Judiciary to protect the fundamental human rights of citizens, act as arbiters in disputes between the state and the citizenry, and between citizens.
President Akufo-Addo also urged them to serve as the boardwalk for the defence of the liberties and the rights of the people and for the promotion of the orderly development of the nation.
Justice Kingsley-Nyinah expressed appreciation to the President and all those who participated in the selection process in their selection and confirmation.
She pledged their determination to live up to the confidence reposed in them in line with the constitution.