Sanction judges who deliver atrocious judgements -GBA tells Judicial Council

BY: Naa Lamiley Bentil
 Some participants in the GBA conference. Insert: Mr Benson Nutsukpui addressing the conference
Some participants in the GBA conference. Insert: Mr Benson Nutsukpui addressing the conference

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has called on the Judicial Council to be bold and punish judges who administer bad judgements.

It said bad judgements made it difficult for the citizenry to repose confidence in the judicial system.

The President of the GBA, Mr Benson Nutsukpui, made the call at the opening of the GBA's  2018/2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Koforidua last Monday.

Addressing about 1,500 members of the GBA, Mr Nutsukpui said the sheer volumes of cases must not affect the quality of judgement and rulings delivered by the High Court.

"The statement, ‘I have read the affidavit of both parties and I have heard counsel for both parties and I am of the opinion that the application lacks merit and should be dismissed,’ has become too familiar and rampant.

Atrocious judgements

“There’s the urgent need to sanction judges who deliver truly atrocious judgements not befitting of the high office of a High Court judge. We as a Bar will ensure that persons recommended by the association to the bench are of proven integrity and standard befitting the high office,” he said.

Mr Nutsukpui also called on the Judicial Council to appoint more judges to the High Court as “the practice of assigning Court of Appeal judges as additional High Court judges in most cases to handle perceived high-profile cases, entrenches the perception of a weak High Court bench.”

He commended Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo for visiting the courts around the country to ensure that justice was delivered from the appropriate environment.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and a host of other key dignitaries were at the opening of the conference which is on the theme: “The impact of technology on the practice of Law: To move with the changing time”.

Legal education

Mr Nutsukpui said legal education in the country was at the crossroads, given the number of students who wanted to be admitted to the Ghana School of Law.

He stressed the need for a fundamental overhaul of legal education and the future of the Ghana School of Law.

Mr Nutsukpui also commended the Judicial Council for reverting the process of promoting and recruiting judges to the old system that acknowledged experience instead of written examination.

Technology
 
The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Ms Gloria Akuffo, for her part, said the government had undertaken projects to digitise and automate the judicial system to enhance efficiency in justice delivery.

The Judiciary, she said, had introduced a number of technologically enhanced policies, including the e-case register in February 2018.

“When fully executed, information about the number of convicts, date convicted, nature of offences, number of persons on remand or who are simply being processed for court, among others, will be shared with the relevant state institutions,” she said.

Honour

The GBA conferred on Mr Justice William Atuguba a “Meritorious Honour of Outstanding Performance” and he was presented with a citation.
 
Mr Atuguba was called to the Bar in 1974 and retired as a Supreme Court Judge on July 1, 2018.