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20.10.2005 General News

GBA calls for clear procedures for appointment of Judges

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Accra, Oct. 20, GNA - The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) on Thursday called on the Chief Justice, Justice Kingsley Acquah to come up with clear procedures for the assessment of candidates to be appointed and promoted as Judges or Magistrates.

It said a well-formulated procedure would establish the standard of competence required of Judges and this would enable them to work towards it as well as enhance transparency.

Mr Solomon Kwame Tetteh, President of the GBA, told a press conference in Accra that a drastic reform of the procedures for appointment and promotion of Judges would enhance dedication and hard work in the Judiciary.

The press conference was to make public resolutions passed at the GBA Annual General Conference at Elmina last month. He said under the Constitution the qualifications for appointment to the Bench were high moral character, proven integrity and a required number of years' standing as a lawyer.

"Although competence is not mentioned expressly, it is implicit in Article 146(1) of the 1992 Constitution where a Judge may be removed on the ground of incompetence. The ability of the candidate for appointment or promotion to discharge his duties competently thus becomes a qualification."

Mr Tetteh said although the conditions of service of Judges were inadequate, the Bar was of the view that a lot could be done to infuse in Judges a strong sense of job satisfaction to compensate for the shortfalls in their conditions of service. He called on the Chief Justice to take immediate steps to provide public address system in each court in order to help demystify the administration of justice.

Mr Tetteh said currently the proceedings in the courtroom were hardly audible in the public gallery adding that the provision of the public address system would help persons present in the public gallery to hear and appreciate the proceedings. He commended President John Agyekum Kufuor for the donation of 30 million cedis towards the Bar Centre Project.