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14.07.2003 General News

Automation of courts will continue - CJ

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Ho, July 14, GNA- The Chief Justice, Mr George Acquah, on Monday said he would continue to pursue reforms and modernisation projects currently going on in the Judicial Service.

Commissioning Fast Track/Automated High Courts in the 10 regional capitals at Ho, he said "my immediate pre-occupation as the Chief Justice is not only to tackle the Service's cancerous vices such as inefficiency, incompetence, corruption and laziness".

The Chief Justice assured Ghanaians that the current reforms and Automation in the Judicial Service were fully on course and would never be permitted to derail.

He said the Service needed dedicated, hardworking, honest and disciplined personnel both on the bench and administration to realise its objectives.

Mr Justice Acquah said he was putting in place a number of measures including an annual report scheme, which will report on the output of every court and the performance of every judge especially those manning single courts.

He said the scheme would set out the names and particulars of every member of staff in each court or unit of the Service, the conditions of every court and other relevant information.

The Chief Justice said he hoped the annual reports would enable the Service to reconcile the number of staff on the ground with those "on our payroll" to weed out ghost names and promote transparency and efficiency with available resources.

"This automated system can only be achieved if we discard our old ways of doing things - an attitudinal change in our justice delivery system, a change that requires a certain degree of discipline on the part of all the players".

The Chief Justice appealed to judges to note that the automation was meant to relieve them from taking down court proceedings in long hand and try to listen as much as possible and intervene only when necessary to clarify an issue.

''It is also meant to facilitate speedy processing of the entire trial, guarantee transparency and fairness in adjudication of cases to create confidence and respect in the justice delivery system,'' he said. Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of Justice and Attorney General said: "we have under our Constitution among other things solemnly declared and affirmed our commitment to freedom, justice, probity and accountability."

He said this commitment would be a mirage if the confidence of the people in the administration of justice were undermined. " It would be a mirage if our people think that the system can be misused and abused to achieve unjust ends."

Papa owusu-Ankomah assured that the government would continue to support the efforts of the judicial service to reposition it to meet the challenges of justice delivery.

The Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa urged the Judicial Service to mount nationwide public education on the import of the Fast Track High Courts.

He said this was necessary to disabuse the minds of the public about the misconceptions regarding Fast Track Courts. Mr Justice Paul Gyaesayor, Volta Regional Supervising High Court Judge, urged the Chief Justice to provide the necessary back up to the courts automation system in order to sustain the modernisation process.

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