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15.11.2014 General News

Judicial integrity is critical for justice delivery - CJ

By GNA
Georgina WoodGeorgina Wood
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Judicial integrity undoubtedly is the most critical value in justice delivery, Mrs Georgina Wood, Chief Justice, has said.

Speaking at the seventh annual Chief Justice's Forum in Accra on the theme: “Integrity: The Key to Effective Justice Delivery,” Mrs Wood said judicial integrity was protected by insulating the judiciary from pressures and influence of other governmental arms and bodies.

The forum is to deliberate effective ways to administer justice and, since its inception, has brought together stakeholders to discuss issues that affect the justice delivery system of the country.

She said judicial integrity's importance was underscored by the provision of Articles 128(4), 136 and 139(4) of the 1992 Constitution which required that judges should be persons of high moral character and of proven integrity.

The Chief Justice said these were constitutional guarantees to empower and embolden the judiciary to deliver justice with integrity.

She said the theme for the forum required that justice delivery must be grounded on honesty, fairness, fortitude, strong moral principles and internal consistencies devoid of corruption.

“Integrity is at the core of any effective justice delivery system and is indeed essential to the proper and effective discharge of any adjudicating or judicial function,” she said.

Mrs Wood said the importance of integrity as an effective tool in justice delivery was borne out of the fact that from the very beginning of their training as lawyers, before they became judges, this value was inculcated in them at Law School in the Legal Ethics and Advocacy course.

She said an honest Bar with integrity was a valuable asset in making the country's justice delivery efficient and effective, adding that a judge should not lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interest of others, their own interest or lend it to any special favours.

She said the theme called for an evaluation and assessment of what was at the core of every effective justice delivery system.

Professor Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Coast, said confronting the integrity challenges to effective justice delivery required the personal integrity of all actors, process integrity of the system and access to justice for all.

He said there was the need for public education, religious and moral re-awakening to tackle general decadence, graft and mediocrity.

The Law Lecturer said there was the need to strengthen the justice for all programme and also strengthen the legal aid board.

Prof. Bondzi-Simpson said in addressing the integrity concerns, the judicial service should appoint more qualified judges and magistrates to adjudicate over cases.

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