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04.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

Training Institute for the Judiciary to be established - CJ

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Accra, March 4, GNA - The Judicial Service Guesthouse is to be reconstructed to house the Judicial Service Training Institute in Accra, Chief Justice George Kingsley Acquah said on Friday.

The reconstruction estimated at four million dollars would have four lecture rooms, a 60-room residential facility, offices and a restaurant.

Mr Justice Acquah, who announced this at the commissioning of six Commercial Courts of the Judicial Service in Accra said the architectural drawings and the bill of quantities have been completed but needed financial support.

The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) funded the three-story Commercial Courts building at a cost of two million dollars. Mr Justice Acquah said the establishment of the training institute was very crucial to enhance and equip judges and staff.

The Chief Justice noted that in an era of globalisation and technological advancement the Judicial Service needed to reposition itself in order to meet the challenges.

He expressed gratitude to the government for appointing a full time director for the Judicial Training Institute, which is currently operating from the over 40 year-old premises.

Mr Justice Acquah said because of the unsustainability of the premises, all training programmes were held at various hotels and this was expensive.

He said the Institute would assist judges and staff to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to perform their judicial responsibilities fairly, correctly and efficiently.

The Chief Justice observed that judicial education had become increasingly "a basic necessity as a result of the pressure of workload, the size of the court and complexity of a modern judicial programming and invasion of technology".

"Consequently, without the establishment of a well-resourced and functioning judicial training institute, all our efforts at reforming the service will not yield the desired results."

Mr Justice Acquah therefore, appealed to the donor community to come to their aid in the expansion and reconstruction of the guesthouse to a befitting Judicial Training Institute.

Referring to the Commercial Courts, the Chief Justice said, they "require the services of experts and assessors in its adjudication process and I hope that well qualified personnel in various fields of business would readily offer their services to the court".

Mr. Justice Acquah said the rationale for establishing the court was to promote efficient, speedy and effective determination of commercial disputes.

He appealed to parties, litigants and lawyers, in particular to desist from employing delay tactics to frustrate the process of the court.

"The court works strictly according to prescribed time and no adjournment would be entertained. The judge and supporting staff alone cannot work to realise its noble objective, unless all the parties before it play their respective roles properly and honestly."

He thanked the Danish government for its immense contribution to a number of reforms in the Judiciary.

The Chief Justice also thanked Thompson Publishers, an international publisher, for donating the Volume 15 Common Law Library series worth 17,000 pounds to the new courts library.

According to the Chief Justice, Thomson Publishers were ready to cooperate with a Ghanaian partner, Readwide Publishers, to make judgements of the commercial court available globally.

"I hope this court will grow to be a model commercial court in Africa," he said.

The Commercial Court is a High Court and therefore falls within the general court structure and administration of the judicial Service. It is semi-autonomous in its administration. It has its own registrar of the status of Deputy Chief Registrar.