Chief Justice of Ghana

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The Chief Justice of Ghana is the highest judge of the Supreme Court of Ghana. The Chief Justice is also the head of the Judiciary of Ghana and is responsible for its administration and supervision.[1] In order of state precedence, the Chief Justice is the fourth highest official in Ghana.[2]

Historical background[edit]

The Supreme Court Ordinance of 1876 ended the 10 year absence of a Supreme Court, establishing a Supreme Court of Judicature for the Gold Coast Colony. The court consisted of the Chief Justice and not more than four puisne judges.[3] This led to the appointment of the first Chief Justice, Sir David Patrick Chambers by the British colonial authorities in 1876. The nature of the office of Chief Justice evolved with the years. The 1954 Gold Coast constitution provided for the Chief Justice to be appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister while other judges and judicial officers were appointed on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.[4] Under the 1957 Ghana constitution, on the attainment of independence, the Chief Justice and all superior justices were appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister as the Judicial Service Commission was abolished.[5] Sir Kobina Arku Korsah became the first Ghanaian Chief Justice.[6] Under the 1969 constitution, the Chief Justice was appointed by the President acting in consultation with the Council of State.[7] The office has not changed much since the 1979 constitution though the court system underwent a lot of changes under various military governments between 1972 and 1993.[8]

Appointment and office tenure[edit]

The Chief Justice is appointed by the President of Ghana in consultation with the Council of State of Ghana and with the approval of the Parliament of Ghana.[9] A person qualified to be the Chief Justice of Ghana must be of a high moral character and have proven integrity,. S/he must have been a lawyer for at least fifteen years to have been eligible for appointment to the Supreme Court in the first place.[10] Where the office of the Chief Justice is vacant or the Chief Justice is incapacitated and unable to carry out his duties, the most senior of the Justices of the Supreme Court is expected to act in his place until he is able to resume or a new substantive Chief Justice is appointed by the President.[11] The Chief Justice and any other justice of the Superior Courts may voluntarily retire on reaching the age of 60 years[12] or stay on till the compulsory retiring age of 70 years.[13]

Supreme Court and other superior courts[edit]

The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice and at least nine other judges. The Chief Justice is expected to preside at all sittings of the Supreme Court whenever he or she is present.[14] The Chief Justice oversees the administration of the Court of Appeal of which he or she is the most senior member.[15] He or she is also a member and administrator of the High Court[16] and the Regional Tribunals.[17]

Judicial Council[edit]

The Chief Justice is the chairman of the Judicial Council of Ghana. The council is expected to propose judicial reforms to the Ghana government to help improve the level of administration of justice and efficiency in the Judiciary. It is also expected to be a forum to enhance the administration of justice in Ghana.[18]

Other duties[edit]

  • Administer the Presidential oath and the Vice Presidential oaths before parliament prior to both assuming their offices.[19]
  • Administer the oath of allegiance and the judicial oathto all justices of the Superior Courts or designate someone to act in his stead.[20]
  • Chairman of the Rules of Court Committee which makes rules regulating the practice and procedure of all courts in Ghana.[21]
  • To set up a tribunal to resolve grievances against the Electoral Commission of Ghana.[22]
  • Convene and chair a tribunal to oversee proceedings relating to the removal of the President of Ghana from office.[23]
  • Appoint Judicial officers on the advice of the Judicial Council and subject to the approval of the President.[24]

Current Chief Justice[edit]

The current Chief Justice is Georgina Theodora Wood. The Parliament of Ghana approved her nomination on 1 June 2007[25] following the death of George Kingsley Acquah on March 25, 2007.[26] She becomes Ghana's first female Chief Justice. Justice Francis Yaonasu Kpegah, the most senior of the Supreme Court judges acted as Chief Justice between March 2007 and June 2007.[11] He handed over to Georgina Wood on 15 June 2007.[27]

List of Chief Justices of the Supreme Court[edit]

Since its inception in 1876, the Supreme Court has had 24 Chief Justices, including 12 in the Gold Coast era.[28][29]

Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of the Gold Coast[edit]

Chief Justice Time frame Period
Sir David Patrick Chambers 1876 - 1878 Gold Coast
P. A. Smith 1878 - 1879 Gold Coast
Sir James Marshall 1880 - 1882 Gold Coast
N. Lessingham Bailey 1882 - 1886 Gold Coast
H. W Macleod 1886 - 1889 Gold Coast
Sir Joseph Turner Hutchinson 1889 - 1895 Gold Coast
Sir William Brandford Griffith 1895 - 1911 Gold Coast
Philip Crampton Smyly 1911 - 1928 Gold Coast
Sir George Campbell Deane 1929 - 1935 Gold Coast
Sir Philip Bertie Petrides 1936 - 1943 Gold Coast
Sir Walter Harrangin 1943 - 1947 Gold Coast
Sir Mark Wilson 1948 - 1956 Gold Coast
Sir Kobina Arku Korsah 1956 - 5 March 1957 Gold Coast

Chief Justices of Ghana[edit]

Chief Justice Time frame Period
Sir Kobina Arku Korsah 6 March 1957 - 1963 Ghana - 1st Republic
J. Sarkodee-Addo 1964 - 1966
Edward Akufo-Addo 1966 - 1969 military rule[5] (1966-1969)
1969 - 1970 2nd Republic
Edmund Alexander Lanquaye Bannerman[7] 1970 -1972
Samuel Azu Crabbe 1973 - 1977 military rule[30]
Fred Kwasi Apaloo 1977 - 1986 military rule (1977-1979)
3rd Republic[8] (24 September 1979 - 31 December 1981)
[a]military rule[8] (31 December 1981 – 1986)
E. N. P. Sowah 1986 - 1990 military rule
Philip Edward Archer 1991 - 1993 military rule (1991-1993)
1993 - 1995 4th Republic
Isaac Kobina Abban 1995 - 21 April 2001
Edward Kwame Wiredu 2001 - 2003
George Kingsley Acquah 4 July 2003 - 25 March 2007
Georgina Theodora Wood [27] 15 June 2007 - incumbent

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Supreme Court was left intact under this military regime. See.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 125(4).
  2. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 57 (2).
  3. ^ "Historical Development of the Courts before Independence". Judicial Service of Ghana. pp. page 2. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  4. ^ "Historical Development of the Courts before Independence". Judicial Service of Ghana. pp. page 3. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  5. ^ a b "Historical Development of the Courts after Independence". Official Website. Judicial Service of Ghana. pp. page1. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  6. ^ "Colonial Rule in Ghana". Ghana.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2007-05-29. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  7. ^ a b c "Historical Development of the Courts after Independence". Official Website. Judicial Service of Ghana. pp. page2. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  8. ^ a b c "Historical Development of the Courts After Independence". Official Website. Judicial Service of Ghana. pp. page3. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  9. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 144 (1).
  10. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 128 (4).
  11. ^ a b 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 144 (6).
  12. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 145 (1).
  13. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 145 (2)(a).
  14. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 128 (1) and (3).
  15. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 136.
  16. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 139.
  17. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 142.
  18. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 153.
  19. ^ "Second Schedule". 1992 Constitution of Ghana. Ghana Review International. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  20. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 156.
  21. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 157.
  22. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 48 (1)
  23. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 69.
  24. ^ 1992 Constitution of Ghana Article 148.
  25. ^ "Georgina Wood Approved As CJ". General News of Saturday, 2 June 2007 (Ghana Home Page). Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  26. ^ "Death of the Chief Justice of Ghana". Official Website. Judicial Service of Ghana. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  27. ^ a b "Kpegah urges new Chief Justice to unite judges". General News of Friday, 15 June 2007 (Ghana Home Page). Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  28. ^ "List of Chief Justices". Official Website. Judicial Service of Ghana. Archived from the original on 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  29. ^ "New Chief Justice for the Republic of Ghana". Official Website. Judicial Service of Ghana. Archived from the original on 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  30. ^ "History - Summary". Official Website. Judicial Service of Ghana. Archived from the original on 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 

External links[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana
Chief Justice of Ghana