THE STATISTICS in brief for all courts in the country show that one hundred and sixty-four thousand, two hundred and sixty (164,260) new cases were filed within the 2005/2006 legal year, whilst one hundred and twenty-eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty (128,852) cases were disposed of.
The statistics of the cases were contained in the 2005/2006 Annual Report of the Judicial Service released in Accra recently and covered the two main categories of courts in Ghana; the Superior and the Lower courts.
The Superior Courts are made up of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Regional Tribunal.
The Lower Courts, as Parliament may by law establish, are currently made up of the Circuit Courts and the District Courts.
Statistics in the report shows that the Supreme Court, which is the final appellate body of the whole Court system of the country, concluded one hundred and sixty-three (163) cases, with forty-nine (49) pending at the end of the year.
These cases ranged from constitutional, chieftaincy appeals, criminal appeals, civil appeals, supervisory jurisdiction actions, references reviews and motions.
It has the original and exclusive jurisdiction in all matters relating to the enforcement or interpretation of the Constitution and all matters arising as to whether an enactment was made in excess of the powers conferred on Parliament or any other authority or person by law or under the Constitution.
The Appeal Court cases concluded include civil and criminal motions.
According to the report, by the close of the legal year, six hundred and eighty-five (685) appeals had been disposed of, with one thousand, five hundred and eighty-three (1,583) pending.
The Court of Appeal has no original jurisdiction; it serves as the Appellate Court for all the High Courts/Regional Tribunals and the Circuit Courts unless otherwise provided by law.
At the end of the legal year, the High Courts in the country including the Fast Track and the Commercial Courts concluded eight thousand nine hundred and twelve-two (8,912) civil and eight hundred and fourteen (814) criminal cases, with 20,673 and 1,732 cases respectively pending.
Ten thousand six hundred and thirty-two (10,632) new civil cases and 1,484 criminal cases were filed during the year.
The Court has original jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal. It has appellate jurisdiction as may be conferred on it by the Constitution or any other law. Currently, it serves as the appellate body for appeals from criminal judgment of the Circuit Court and all appeals from the District Court, the Juvenile Court and the Family Tribunal.
The breakdown of cases in the High Court shows that there were 3,261 in Ashanti, 1,747 in Brong Ahafo, 1,300 in Central, 2,160 in Eastern, 7,458 in Greater Accra, 354 in Northern, 295 in Upper East, 129 in Upper West, 1,172 in Volta and 1,474 in the Western Regions of the country.
It has supervisory jurisdiction over all Lower Courts in the country. The High Court also has jurisdiction to enforce the fundamental human tights and freedoms guaranteed under the constitution.
The Fast Track Court is a division of the High Court and operates under an electronic case flow management system.
In the period under review, 576 new cases were filed, 246 cases were disposed of and 545 were pending at the end of the period.
Among the cases handled by the FTC were bank, commercial, defamation, human rights, industrial, investment, land, prerogative and writs. Other cases included armed robbery, illegal possession of offensive weapons, manslaughter, murder, rape, stealing and other such cases.
At the end of the legal year, twelve thousand, three hundred and thirty-one (12,331) civil cases had been concluded by the Circuit Courts with sixteen thousand, one hundred and ninety-two (16,192) pending. With criminal cases, 28,095 cases were concluded within the year, with 46,978 pending.
The District Courts make up the largest number of Courts in the country and statistically handled the largest number of cases.
It is the policy of the Service that each district in the country should have at least one District Court.
In the year under review, the District Courts concluded forty thousand one hundred and forty six (40,146) civil cases, with fifty-five thousand two hundred and thirteen (55,213) pending at the end of the year.
In criminal matters, thirty-seven thousand four hundred and fifty-eight (37,458) cases were concluded, with seventy thousand two hundred and thirty-four (70,234) pending at the end of the year.
During the year, the Family Tribunal concluded four thousand and ninety-six (4,091) cases, with eleven thousand one hundred and fourteen (11,114) cases pending at the end of the year.