A retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Stephen Allan Brobbey, has entreated chiefs to study laws on adjudication to know the limitation of their powers to ensure they do not contravene the law in settling cases brought before them.
He said when that was done, it would enable them to arrive at a fair and amicable resolution of cases, including disputes in their jurisdictions without infringing on the rights of persons or groups.
Justice Brobbey was speaking at a workshop for members of the Central Regional House of Chiefs (HoC) in Cape Coast on compliance to the rules of natural justice.
The virtual event was organised by the HoC for members and staff of the house.
Justice Brobbey, who has written extensively on Chieftaincy laws in the country, said whether as part of judicial committees or members of an adjudication committee, traditional rulers needed to understand the demands of such roles within the confines of the law and act accordingly.
He further urged them to be wary of the limitation of their jurisdiction by law, geography and subject, saying, for instance, that "chiefs cannot adjudicate cases of marriage and theft".
According to Justice Brobbey, chiefs by law could adjudicate matters in respect to appointment, enstoolment and destoolment of chiefs.
He said there were three methods in resolving disputes — resolution by the court or judicial committee, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or resolution by eminent chiefs.
Justice Brobbey also said chiefs could only adjudicate cases where parties involved had given consent such as alternative dispute resolution, adding that they cannot compel parties in an adjudication process unless the parties give their consent.
He said it was only a properly constituted judicial committee or the court that had compulsive power on parties.
Justice Brobbey further urged them to ensure that only qualified persons sat on judicial committees to make their rulings lawful and binding on parities.
The President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, Odeefuo Amoakwa Boadu, said the workshop had become necessary to equip the chiefs with knowledge on how to deal with disputes in their respective jurisdictions.
He said it was important for chiefs to work to promote peace rather than destroy existing harmony in their communities through improper resolution of disputes.