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23.12.2008 General News

CJ cautions magistrates against arbitrary use of powers

By gna
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The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina T. Wood on Tuesday cautioned magistrates against arbitrary use of powers when discharging their professional duties.

She said: “It has been said that some magistrates get so intoxicated on their perceived powers and turn themselves into despots. Please be reminded of the oath you have taken.”

Mrs Justice Wood gave the warning at the induction of 10 newly qualified magistrates (six men and four women) to serve in various capacities across the country.

They constitute the second batch of newly qualified magistrates who had gone through a two-year professional training at the Ghana Law School in Accra.

The first batch passed out in October this year.

The career magistrate course, which commenced in September 2004, formed part of the judicial reform that seeks to offer training to graduates to fill vacancies in the country's district magistrate courts.

Mrs Justice Wood who administered the Judicial and Oath of Secrecy urged them not to compromise on their integrity adding, “Integrity is a basic judicial value and compromising this severely erodes public confidence in the judiciary.”

“Civility is not a sign of weakness but rather strength of character. Behaving like a tin-god would not only earn you disdain but earn up being highly unproductive as it affects litigants who have come to court to seek relief,” she told them.

The Chief Justice urged them to be mindful of their conduct since they could be subjected to criticisms.

“This should not discourage or alarm you, always keep in mind that if you dispense justice according to law you have a vast rich life on the bench.”

Mrs Justice Wood advised them to constantly upgrade themselves to enable them meet the needs of society, “Your learning must not be limited to only the law as you would be adjudicating on cases from a broad spectrum of life.”

“In addition to what you have learnt, you would also require a large degree of common sense, which is very important element in the discharge of your duties. The career path you have chosen abhors indolence and tardiness,” Mrs Justice Wood said.

Mrs Justice Wood called on them to open up to constructive criticism but not to be discouraged from dispensing justice according to law.

Ms Janet Larbi, on behalf of her colleagues pledged to work hard to uplift the image of the judicial service.

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