BY Cecil Mensah
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA), the umbrella body of lawyers in the country has called for retooling of the Judicial Service, backed by effective management regime to reduce the delays that were associated with justice delivery.
According to the Association, the efforts of Government to continue equipping the courts adequately with regular supplies, to fast track justice delivery and ensure effective case management mechanism.
The President of GBA, Nene Amegatcher, backed by Justin Agbeli Amenuvor, the National Secretary made this call at a press conference in Accra as part of the resolution passed at the Association’s 2013/2014 annual conference held in Ho, the Volta Regional capital on September 15 to 20.
Outlining the nineteen point resolution, he said, there is the need for the courts to adopt a mandatory Alternative Dispute Resolution to be extended to all courts between the Directions and Hearing stages.
He complained about the inadequacy of the current 21-day time limit prescribed by rules of court for filing written submission and statements of case in Court of Appeal and Supreme Court respectively, especially for lawyers engaged, they appealed the extension of the 21 days to 45 days, to enable members adequately prepare and conduct their appeals.
He requested the Lady Chief Justice, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal to revisit the issuance of practice direction to complement the existing rules of courts as members consider such directions beneficial in the absence of weekly law reporting.
He posited that seeming refusal of bail as a means of punishment and directs National Executive of GBA to liaise with the Judicial Service to ensure that judges and magistrates properly consider bail to ensure the realization of justice.
He reminded the General Legal Council to ensure full compliance with Rule 8 of the Code of Ethics of the GBA abhorring the grant of interviews of matters pending before the courts to curtail lawyers’ scurrilous attacks on the bench or adversaries in public, thus bringing the legal profession into disrepute, and urges all errant practitioners to commit to the noble ideals and high ethical standards of the legal profession.
He explained that the association is saddened by the allegations made against some eminent judges of the Supreme Court and personalities in the country in the aftermath of the election petition judgment, supports the decision of the General Council of the Bar directing National Executive Committee to pursue formal investigations with the judiciary Council and General Legal Council to ascertain the veracity of allegations against those eminent judges , to protect and preserve judicial independence and the integrity of the justice delivery system.
He condemned and called for an end to acts including verbal assault and vilification of judges by lawyers and litigants, whether victorious or not, that tend to erode public confidence in the judges who by their training and judicial temperament are unable to defend themselves in public for a.
He encouraged members of the Bar to re-affirm their commitment to maintaining and continually promoting an upright judiciary and reminds all lawyers that it is their duty at all times to uphold the dignity and high standing of the profession and to discharge their duties to fellow members of the profession with fairness, courtesy and good faith and refrain from doing any act likely to bring the profession into disrepute.