As part of its monitoring duties and to improve relationships between the legislative branch and other branches of government, the judicial committee of parliament paid a familiarization visit to the Ghanaian judicial system.
The Committee was headed by Salaga North MP, Honorable Alhassan Abdallah Iddi. Along with the Ranking Member, Hon. Cletus Apul Avoka, MP for Zebila, Hon. Yao Gomado, MP for the Akan Constituency in the Oti Region, Hon. Sanja Nanja, MP for Atebubu/Amantini in the Bono East, Hon. William Okofo-Dateh, MP for Jaman South, and Hon. Kwadjo Asante, MP for the Suhum Constituency, are other members.
The Chairman of the Committee asserts that when the topic is brought before the House, it must be carefully and promptly reviewed in light of the Committee’s oversight function, particularly with regard to concerns involving the judiciary and its budget estimates.
The Lower Court Complex (LCC) Manager, Mrs. Patricia Naa Aforley, and Director of Communications, Mr. Joseph R. Amponsah Fosu, welcomed the Committee. She greeted everyone and informed them of the LCC’s operations.
The Committee then had a tour of the complex, which consists of 43 courts and three primary divisions: Land Jurisdiction Court, Commercial Jurisdiction Court, and General Jurisdiction Court.The Committee was also allowed to sit in all the divisional Courts to better acquaint themselves with the proceedings, the court system and how judgement is administered.
During the interactive session between Members of the Committee and the Judges, the issue of why some cases delays for many years before judgement given was explained.
Some of the reasons include lawyers and Clients given excuse duties, plaintiffs not serving all the parties involved, payments of filing fees not in time and parties travelling out of the Jurisdiction.
Commenting on the E-Justice system which has not been rolled out in other parts of the country, Mrs Patricia Aforley, noted that plans are far advanced to extend it to other regions of the country. But for now she was of the view that only the court complex has the facility. Other matters discussed include Alternative Dissolution Resolution(ADR).
The Ranking Member, Hon.Cletus Avoka, on his part, noted that it is an opportunity to demystify the public conceptions about the judicial system, stressing that the Public believe that the Judicial Service is not fair, open, and not transparent enough.
Justice Kwasi Anokye Gyimmah of the Land Court and Justice Olivia Obeng Owusu of the General Court, who also serves as the vice president of the Association of Judges and Magistrates, were two of the High Court Judges who were present and engaged with the committee.
The Committee is scheduled to visit the Supreme and Courts of Appeal tomorrow and meet with Ms. Cynthia Pamela Addo, the Judicial Secretary.