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22.11.2005 General News

Give law students scholarships - CJ

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Accra, Nov. 22, GNA - Chief Justice Mr George Kingsley Acguah on Tuesday urged the Government to offer scholarships to interested law students entering the Ghana Law School to stem shortage of personnel at the Attorney General's Department.

Speaking at the Fourth Annual Chief Justice Forum in Accra, Chief Justice Acquah said those offered scholarships could be bonded for a period of five years to serve in a government institution after they had been called to the bar.

The forum is aimed at interacting with key stakeholders on the judicial institutions and system and encouraging better public perception and respect for the role and value of the judiciary.

It is under the theme: "Maintaining the Independence and Accountability of the Judiciary - Perception, Challenges and the Way Forward." Mr Justice Acquah was of the opinion that, the problem of shortage of legal personnel for the Attorney General's office could be solved ... Scholarship for about 30 professionals law students a year would in a few years time yield more lawyers to serve the various Government institutions.

"I am confident this system would certainly help to staff the Attorney- General's office with more lawyers."

He said he was not happy over the rate at which blames were quickly shifted on to the doorsteps of the Judiciary adding; "it was aware that AG's office was seriously understaffed and that was rendering the speedy prosecution of criminal cases in most courts quite difficult". He recalled instance where prosecutors were not ready to conduct their cases thereby calling for adjournments, an act which was frustrating the judiciary.

The Chief Justice further called for more Police prosecutors, who would work hand in hand with attorneys to prosecute criminal cases. Chief Justice Acquah recalled his visit to the three Northern Regions that revealed that there was the need to engage more Police personnel to prosecute at most magistrate's courts.

He said he was happy that the Police Council was training more Police personnel in the art of prosecution.

Mrs Leonora Kyerematen, Coordinator, National Governance Programme, said for the Judiciary to be effective, respected and accepted, it ought to be accountable to the people.

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