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03.11.2008 General News

Judiciary assured of government's support-President Kufuor

By The Statesman

The President of the Republic of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, has assured the judiciary of government's unflinching support to it in various ways to enable it discharge its constitutional mandate.

According to the President, in the discharge of their respective functions, the three arms of government - Executive, Legislature and Judiciary - are inextricably linked and, as such, must support one another.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Supreme Court administration block and a new court house at the Law Courts buildings in Accra Thursday, President Kufuor said the provision of infrastructure, particularly office accommodation and court rooms, had engaged government"s attention.

 "I am happy that today, with budgetary support, the Financial and Land Investment Court, and the Administration Block of the Supreme Court are ready for commissioning here in Accra, while the Court of Appeal Complex at Adum, Kumasi, is also completed', he expressed.

He further pledged government's support for the judiciary to develop a five-storey 34 Courtroom complex to be sited at Victoriaborg, on the 28 February Road to replace the current Cocoa Affairs Cluster of Courts.

He advised the judiciary that as they pursued measures to bring justice to the door steps of Ghanaians and build public confidence in the judiciary, 'you should always be mindful that today, the public demands justice that is efficient, fair and effective.'

He added that the timeliness, transparency, fairness and speed with which cases are dealt with by the courts, and indeed, the effectiveness of the outcomes, are the standards by which quality of justice is measured.

'I have full confidence that as the Judiciary continues to pursue its comprehensive reform and modernisation programme under your guidance [Justice Georgina Wood], the public will see a new and highly respected system of justice delivery in the country.

The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, on her part, noted that for decades the Supreme Court building, originally constructed in 1929 to house only three Supreme Court Judges and a limited number of administrative staff, had become seriously over-crowded.

She said until the relocation to this new building there were members of staff who as a matter of necessity, had to work from corridors or highly congested work spaces. She said some judges had had to share chambers while others for sometime had no chambers at all to work from.

The Supreme Court Administration block commissioned is a twin four-storey complex. The southern block is designated as chambers for Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, with adequate facilities for their secretaries and research assistants.

The northern block comprises the Chief Justice's Secretariat, conference rooms, the Judicial Council, the Judicial Secretary's offices, and adequate offices for key administrative staff.

A whole floor is dedicated to the library with binding and reprographics facilities, reading rooms and so forth.

The Chief Justice pointed out that the release of office spaces in the main Supreme Court building should make it possible for the judiciary to create one or two courts to facilitate the speedy delivery of justice.

The new commissioned courthouse is an eight room fully automated courthouse and ADR rooms.

This new Government of Ghana funded court facility will housed specialized courts, namely, four land courts, a human rights courts, an industrial (labour) court, and two courts to handle economic crimes, financial related civil and criminal matters, arising particularly under the Financial Administration Act, 2003, Act 654.

According to the Chief Justice, the courts, which are divisions of the High Court, became operational at the beginning of this legal year.

She finally pointed out that the human rights court will, among other things, greatly enhanced the work of CHRAJ, given that their decisions are not self enforcing and requires endorsement and enforcement by the courts.

She paid glowing tribute to her predecessors for initiating these projects, especially the Late Justice George Kingsley Acquah.