The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has honoured the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia A.B Akuffo, for her outstanding legacy as a judge and her strong advocacy in upholding and maintaining high standards in the legal profession in Ghana.
The Chief Justice, who is set to retire at the latter part of December, was eulogised by the GBA, recognising her contribution to legal reform in the country which borders around professional ethics, dignity and integrity in the legal profession.
In a citation read by the President of the Bar, Anthony Forson, at a thanksgiving church service in honour of Justice Sophia Akuffo recognised her as “strong advocacy with respect to upholding and maintaining standards, professional ethics, dignity and integrity in the legal profession is worthy of mention. You marshalled the closure of dilapidated court structures which is evidence of your deep desire to ensure that the places of justice delivery in this country are dignified.”
It said the CJ “exhibited exceptional leadership qualities which are evident for all to see. You displayed leadership in your relationship with the Bar and Bench. You engaged with several regional bars when you toured the various regions in the country. You also offered your maximum support to the Bar in reviving and calendarising of the Bench, Bar and faculty lectures.”
The citation also touched on some of the offices she held ‒ including the vice and subsequently the president of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ‒ as one of the pioneering judges.
“For the aforementioned sterling qualities, exemplary leadership, distinguished and dedicated service to Ghana, Africa and the legal profession, the Ghana Bar Association, hereby confers on you the meritorious honour of outstanding and dedicated performance, commitment to the legal profession and the administration of justice; patriotism in your judicial career as a judge; loyalty and devotion to Ghana and the African continent,” it concluded.
Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, in her response to the eulogy, acknowledged the recognition and expressed her profound gratitude to the GBA.
She said her relationship with the Bar over the years has been “bitter sweet but that is how the best relationships normally are because without friction, you don’t get movement. We are able to move only because of the friction between our feet.”
Justice Sophia Akuffo indicated that although she may be retiring, she won't relent on ensuring high standards in the legal profession in Ghana are upheld.
“From the sidelines, I am still going to be very critical about standards because as for standards, we must never let them drop.”
The District Minister of the Tema North District of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Dr. George, in a sermon urged the CJ and the congregation of judges, lawyers and Judicial Service staff to offer their lives to the God and live according to the tenets of the Scripture as has been the story of Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo.
He said the congregation present showed that Justice Sophia Akuffo indeed served her country and the African continent well.
Money raised at the thanksgiving service was donated to the leprosarium at Weija.
Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo would retire from the Judiciary and from the Bench on the December 20, 2019, as she attains the age of 70, which is the statutory retirement age for serving Justices of the Supreme Court.
She becomes the third Justice of the Supreme to retire this year following the retirement of Justices Visa Akoto-Bamfo and Sophia Adinyira.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak