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04.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

Kufuor inaugurates Commercial court building in Accra

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Accra, March 4, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday inaugurated a two-million dollar Commercial Court Building Complex for the Judicial Service in Accra.

The Court is a division of the High Court and although it is in Accra it has jurisdiction to try any commercial claim arising in any part of the country.

The three-storey building comprising six courts, was designed, constructed and furnished by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) to promote efficient, speedy and effective determination of commercial disputes.

Construction of the building began in March 2004 and was completed in December the same year. All the courts are fully automated, fitted with air conditioners and soundproof ceiling.

As a commercial court, it has jurisdiction in all commercial claims including any claim relating to the formation or governance of a business or commercial organisation, the winding up or bankruptcy of a commercial or business or commercial organisation or corporate person. Others are the restructuring or payment of commercial debts by or to business or commercial organisation or person, business document or contract, export or import of goods.

The Court will also deal with disputes involving commercial arbitration and other settlement awards, intellectual property rights, including patents, copyrights and trademarks, commercial frauds, application under the Companies Code, tax matters, insurance and re-insurance cases.

Some of the distinctive features of the court are; the use of mediation or other alternative dispute resolution mechanism, which is mandatory at the pre-trial settlement conference stage.

Again at the pre-trial settlement conference proceedings, experts in the field of the claim may be invited to assist in the amicable resolution of cases.

At the trial, the judge may seek the services of not more than two assessors to sit with him and render individual written opinions. The opinions of the assessors are however, not binding on the judge. Although the court falls under the general court structure and administration of the Judicial Service, it is semi-autonomous in its administration.

It has its own registrar, an accountant, an administrator who with the President of the court are responsible for the administration of the court.

In addition, there are two committees guiding the court in its efforts at rendering quality justice.

These are the Users Committee and the Management Committee and fees charged by the court are slightly higher than those of the Fast Track High Courts.

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