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03.05.2012 Press Statement

PRESS STATEMENT: FGJ REACTS TO WITHDRAWAL OF COMPLAINT AGAINST FOUR LAWYERS BY AMJG – WHY OUR SUIT MUST PROCEED

By Forum for Governance and Justice (FGJ)
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MAY 3rd, 2012
The Forum for Governance and Justice (FGJ) welcomes the reported withdrawal of the complaint filed at the General Legal Council (GLC) against some four lawyers by the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG).

First, we wish to thank the good people of Ghana who supported our advocacy on behalf of the four lawyers, including David Annan, Abraham Amaliba, Dr. Raymond Atuguba and the late Mr. Larry Bimi.

Second, we wish to put on record that notwithstanding this welcome development, the FGJ will NOT withdraw the suit filed on June 10th 2011 against the AMJG and Co. (suit number AP.121/2011) by Dr. Clement Apaak and Dr. Buame, leading members of the FGJ.

Our decision, which we have communicated to our counsel, was reached at an executive meeting of the FGJ to consider a request by a joint committee of select members of the Judicial Council and the General Legal Council to; a) Mediate between the parties and if possible, reach an out-of Court settlement of the dispute and, b) To make relevant proposals/recommendations that will avert such a situation in the future.

At the meeting with the joint committee, the Convener of the FGJ who represented the Forum indicated that the basis for the suit (suit number AP.121/2011) was much larger than the advocacy to revoke the complaint against the four lawyers, and therefore he needed to consult the entire leadership of the FGJ. The outcome of the FGJ leadership meeting, communicated by e-mail to our counsel, is that the case must proceed in court.

Thus, while respecting the intervening role of the joint committee, which has contributed to the revocation of the ban on the four lawyers, the FGJ has decided to proceed with (suit number AP.121/2011) based on principle and in the national interest. It is our belief that the outcome of our suit will have a positive impact on the rule of law, especially, the absolute independence of the judiciary. Certainly, the ability of an Association (the AMJG) to influence which lawyer a Judge or Magistrate should accept or not accept in his/her courtroom compromises the independence of the Judiciary.

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