PLANS ARE underway for the setting up of appeal courts in all regions of the country.
This is to curtail the current situation where all appeal court cases are heard only in Accra, and also to promote smooth and efficient administration of justice in the country.
This was announced by the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, at the Sixth Chief Justices' Forum in Kumasi recently.
Justice Wood said the mission of the Judicial Service was to promote the smooth and efficient
administration of justice to all manner of persons without discrimination.
She said the infrastructural and procedural reforms that had been initiated over the past few years had enabled the Service put in place some very good systems and policies.
The judiciary, Mrs. Wood said, was doing its best to attract the youth into the service in a bid to promote efficient administration of justice in the country.
She appealed to Ghanaians to feel free to come to court as witnesses as their safety and protection were assured. She as well urged people to support the judiciary and expose all criminals within their vicinities.
The guest of honour, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II called for an independent judiciary in the country.
He asked Ghanaians to look deeply into the constitution and ensure that the judiciary has total independence in the performance of its duties.
He said the current situation where the judiciary had to depend on government for resources and funds for its operations and sustenance obstructed its operations.
Otumfuo observed that the judiciary could never be effective if it depended solely on government for funds and said it was about time Ghanaians learnt to face realities and facts and avoid pretentious attitudes.
According to him, the judiciary was one of the crucial arms of government that should never be looked down upon and challenged the Judicial Council to be innovative and explore avenues to source funds to enhance its activities as this, he observed, would ensure fair adjudication of cases and improve the services of the judiciary.
The Asantehene condemned the system whereby funds allocated for the judiciary were paid into the consolidated fund and lamented about the poor state of chambers, court buildings and residences of judges, saying steps should be taken to improve the situation, especially in the Ashanti region.
Otumfuo appealed to staff of the service to uphold honesty, truth and justice in the discharge of their duties, to enhance the rule of law and the nation's democratic process. He asked Ghanaians also to appreciate the work of the judiciary to enable it offer the best services it could.
He challenged the Judicial Council to step up efforts to educate the public on the country's constitution and rights through sensitization workshops to enlighten them and make them appreciate their services.
Touching on the roles of the judiciary and chieftaincy in the country, he said there was no difference between the responsibility of the judiciary and chiefs because both of them settled cases that were within their confines.
He said the two bodies should have a parallel situation that would make the people in the country decide where to channel their grievance to, for there are some cases that the people would prefer Nananom to settle.
He observed that the country's chiefs were doing their best to support the Judicial Service to enhance the rule of law and the nation's democracy.
The forum was held under the theme “Strengthening Judicial Integrity and Capability Through Judicial Education”.
It was attended by members of the Judiciary, paramount chiefs from the Ashanti Region, MPs, DCEs and other high-placed personalities in the region. From Stella Danso, Kumasi