Vincent Cyril Richard Arthur Charles Crabbe

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His Lordship

Vincent Cyril Richard Arthur Charles Crabbe

Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana
In office
Appointed byKofi Abrefa Busia
Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana
In office
High Court Judge
In office
Appointed byNational Liberation Council
Personal details
Born(1923-10-29)29 October 1923
Accra, Gold Coast
Died7 September 2018(2018-09-07) (aged 94)
Accra, Ghana
RelationsSamuel Azu Crabbe (brother)

Vincent Cyril Richard Arthur Charles (V.C.R.A.C) Crabbe JSC, FGA (29 October 1923 ─ 7 September 2018) was a Ghanaian jurist known for his expertise in legal draftsmanship. He served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Ghana on two occasions, and is only person to have done so.

Early life[edit]

V.C.R.A.C Crabbe was born on 29 October 1923 at Ussher town in Accra, Gold Coast to Ga-Adangbe parents. His parents were Richard Arthur Crabbe and Stella Akoley Lartey. Charles's father died eleven months after he was born. Until his death, R.A. Crabbe was the Chief Registrar, the most senior staff of the Judicial Service of the Gold Coast.[1]

Crabbe began his education at the Government Junior Boys' School near the James Fort Prison and continued to the Government Senior Boys' Schools,Kinbu. In 1939 he entered the Accra Academy where he sat for the Cambridge Junior and Senior School Certificates, completing in 1943. After which, Crabbe studied under a preparatory science course at the Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School,Odumase-Krobo for six months to enable him read Medicine, a dream of his which he didn't carry through.[2] Crabbe then went to start work as a Second Division Clerk at the Headquarters of the Gold Coast Police Force. During the February 1948 riots, Charles was assigned to be part of the crowd, gathering intelligence for the Police Service. While working with the police, he studied privately for an Intermediate B.A. degree through correspondence with Wolsey Hall, Oxford. Between 1950 and 1952, Crabbe studied Economics at the City of London College Moorgate, London.[3] In August 1952, he was admitted to the Inner Temple to read law. He did so using the Senior Cambridge Certificate he had obtained from the Accra Academy. He completed the normal three-year course in two years and was called to the Bar on 8 February 1955 having being granted a dispensation. The same year he was enrolled as a member of the Gold Coast Bar, in order to maintain his Seniority at the Bar.[4]


In 1955 Crabbe joined the Attorney General's Department of Ghana. He started out as an Assistant Crown Counsel and soon became the first African and only Ghanaian to be appointed a Parliamentary Counsel. Ghana after its political independence was to decide on a change of the term Parliamentary Counsel to Principal State Attorney. Together with the New Zealand lawyer Fred Boyce, he drafted the legislations, Ordinances and Acts of Parliament which were passed by the National Assembly on Ghana's Independence Day.[5] In 1963, he was made a First Parliamentary Counsel and Constitutional Advisor to the Uganda Government. In December 1966, he returned to Ghana and was made a high court judge. He served as Special Commissioner to the 1969 Constitutional Commission and a Legislative Draftsmen to the 1969 Constituent Assembly which drafted the 1969 Constitution of Ghana. In August 1969 he was made the first Electoral Commissioner of Ghana to conduct the 1969 Elections. He worked as a Senior Instructor at the International Law Development Centre in Rome, Italy. He was a professor of Legislative drafting at the Cave Hill Campus, Barbados of the University of West Indies.[6] From 1974 to 1978, he was Director of the Commonwealth Secretariat Scheme for Legislative draftsmen for the West African Region, Southern Africa Region and the Caribbean Region. He was the Chairman of the 1979 Constituent Assembly and drafted the 1979 Constitution of Ghana. He worked with the Constitutional Review Commission of Kenya and was Leader of the group of Draftspersons who drafted the Kenya Constitution. He did work the Zambian Constititional Commission for the drafting of the Zambian Constitution as well with the Fiajoe Review Commission for the review of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.Crabbe worked with Justice P.N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India and Justice Kayode Eso of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to advise on the setting up of the Constitutional Court in South Africa. Crabbe was for many years sole Statute Law Revision Commissioner of Ghana and in this office revised the Laws of Ghana from 1852 to 2004 in seven volumes. Crabbe was a Professor of Law at Mountcrest University College in Accra until his death on 7 September 2018.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Crabbe had six children.[8] He was also a Freemason, belonging to the District Grand Lodge of Ghana under the United Grand Lodge of England.[9][10]

Awards and Honours[edit]

Death and state funeral[edit]

He died at the age of 94 on 7 September 2018 in Accra, Ghana. A state funeral, attended by several dignitaries and members of the legal fraternity, was held for him on Thursday 4 October 2018 at the Accra International Conference Centre.[8][11][12][13]


  • Amoak, Kwesi (2016) "Unfinished journey : the life and times of V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe : a legal luminary" Sakumo, Ghana: Smartline Limited[14][15]


  1. ^ Ocquaye, Prof.Mike (4 October 2018). "Tribute to Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe - On behalf of the Walakata family of Osu". Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Accra Aca Is Calling". Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  3. ^ Amoak, Kwesi (4 October 2018). "Excerpts from the biography of Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe - Unfinished Journey". www.graphic. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  4. ^ "V.C.R.A.C Crabbe dies at age 95". Ghana Business & Finance Magazine. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  5. ^ V.C.R.A.C Crabbe (1993). Legislative Drafting. Cavendish Publishing. ISBN 1874241155.
  6. ^ "Justice crabbe profile". Archived from the original on 5 October 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2010..
  7. ^ "V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe has died". Ghana Web. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b "V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe laid to rest". Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  9. ^ Tornyi, Emmanuel. "Freemasons attend Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe's funeral". Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Freemasons storm V.C.R.A.C Crabbe's burial in Accra - Photos - DailyViewGh". DailyViewGh. 5 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Justice Crabbe: Honourable burial not enough for the man who drew 5 constitutions". Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Final Funeral Rights For Late Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe Set For October 4th". Modern Ghana. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  13. ^ "V.C.R.A.C Crabbe to be buried October 4". Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  14. ^ Amoak, Kwesi (2016). Unfinished journey: the life and times of V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe : a legal luminary. ISBN 9789988600693. OCLC 959610646.
  15. ^ "Unfinished Journey: The Life and Times of VCRAC Crabbe – BookNook". 20 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2018.