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13.01.2021 Feature Article

The social perspective of legal reforms

The social perspective of legal reforms
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The court is actually the best platform for resolving disputes especially of a certain magnitude but there are alternatives too. The court sometimes should be the last resort.

The architecture of our democracy is such that, various mechanisms exist to resolve various problems but it appears all of those mechanisms are being relegated to the background.

If this will continue then I foresee the following;

1. The sacred confidence of the courts will be eventually eroded. The court will be "common" like the streets and the spirit and sanctity of the laws may "die".

2. The ruling class will always want to have influence over courts' decision by leveraging incumbency. When that happens, the rule of law will visualize legal dictatorship. The laws will exist to protect us, but they will be used to oppress the proletariat.

3. The pandora box will be opened for frivolous, baseless and trivial issues. This will give undue pressure on the judiciary, making it not to do its best.

4. People, because of their inability to meet the charges (cost) of legal services even when they think they have an issue, will evade the courts and opt for "instant justice". The society begins to turn a jungle once people run away from their own systems for whatever reason.

It appears we are not using the ADR mechanisms. Sometimes, the courts are compelled to direct parties to go back and trigger those mechanisms.

I think we need more of legal education on conflict resolution, protection of fundamental human rights and many others from state institutions. The NCCE and the Legal Aid Departments must be retooled! People should understand the mechanisms of resolving disputes either than the court. This is not to prevent people from going to court but to indirectly, in the long run, refine the nature and sort of cases in court.

As a developing country, every stage has its difficulties. We ought to be thinking ahead, so far as shaping our systems to meeting contemporary predicaments, is concerned.

I am not a lawyer but I think those who are, can contribute on these issues to shape this opinion in the interest of Ghana. Modern constitutional lawyers must certainly be interested in averting future challenges like these!

Denis Andaban

The village Boy from DBI.

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