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Uganda understudies Ghana’s judicial system

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah (arrowed), Chief Justice, and Justice Richard Buteera (3rd from left),  Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda, with some Justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana and members of the Ugandan delegation
Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah (arrowed), Chief Justice, and Justice Richard Buteera (3rd from left), Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda, with some Justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana and members of the Ugandan delegation

A delegation of judges and judicial officers from Uganda are on a five-day working visit to the country to understudy Ghana’s judicial system and how it works.

The 13-member delegation is led by the Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda, Justice Richard Buteera. It has been in the country since Monday and is expected to leave today.

Among the itinerary of the delegation were a courtesy call on the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah; visiting of courts, including the Supreme Court, to observe how justice is dispensed in the country, and the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) to acquaint itself with training programmes for judges and judicial officers.

They also learnt about how the Judicial Service harnesses technology in the administration of justice, such as the automation of courts and e-justice, judicial reforms, the court-connected alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism system and infrastructure development.

The team also visited Kumasi, where they called on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and inspected the new Court of Appeal residential complex in the metropolis.

Rationale


In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Justice Buteera said the visit was to learn at first-hand Ghana’s developed justice delivery system and the progress made in improving access to justice.

“Ghana has developed strategies, systems, infrastructure and practices that have seen tremendous growth and effectiveness in its administration and delivery of justice,” he said.

According to him, Ghana and Uganda had similar judicial systems based on the common law legal tradition and, therefore, it was important for the two countries to share ideas.

“As a continent, we should be learning from one another and not always run to America, Europe and others. There is a lot we can offer one another as Africans,” Justice Buteera said.

He said the delegation was impressed by the technological and infrastructure drive Ghana was undertaking to expand access to justice and further reduce delays in the justice delivery system.

“We were impressed that in Ghana case backlog is when a case is one year old. This is a big achievement because for us, a case is backlog when it is two years in the system.

“We find the strategies adopted by Ghana useful and we will probably adopt some,” the Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda said.

Commendation

Justice Buteera also commended Ghana for having a comprehensive ADR mechanism and the efficient manner in which it had been inculcated into the judicial set up.

“We were also impressed about how Ghana assesses the performance of judges and judicial officers. We will borrow some of the performance assessment tools and methods into our system,” he added.

According to Justice Buteera, Uganda would take the collaboration further by inviting judges from Ghana to Uganda, and vice versa, for peer-learning and capacity building.

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