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General News of Thursday, 23 August 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Supreme Court struggling to meet its mandate - Prof. Kotey

Nominee for the position of Justice of the Supreme Court, Professor Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey has called for a review of the court’s jurisdictions to reduce excessive workload and induce effectiveness.

Prof. Kotey expressed concern about the lagging cases in the country’s highest court, which is the cause of, among other things, the extensive nature of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.

“Our supreme court has a very extensive jurisdiction from the original jurisdiction for the enforcement and interpretation of the constitution……We need to carefully examine whether the jurisdiction is too extensive and whether there are ways by which we could work on that because, as I understand it, the court is quite overworked, the delays are quite long,” he said.

Adding, “There are a number of things that one could do. If we take the original jurisdiction to interpret and enforce the constitution, there are some who think that the court is being inundated with a lot of constitutional cases and this is leading to the delay and some have argued that this is affecting the work of the court….. It may be that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is too extensive, and that, we should begin to think about reducing the load”.

He argued that though the Supreme Court has decided that all constitutional matters be referred to them, it will be prudent if specific cases which can be handled by the high and appeal courts are sorted out and referred to them accordingly.

“Present Supreme Court has by and large taken the decision that any matter of constitutionality is a matter for the Supreme Court and the matter should commence at the Supreme Court or where it arises in litigation, pending the litigation, must be stopped and the constitutional issue referred to the Supreme Court. It may be that for purposes of clarity and certainty, the Supreme Court thinks that all these matters should be dealt with in the Supreme Court. But on the other hand, there is a growing feeling that too many cases which in the view of some could be dealt with in the high court are starting in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court is being inundated because we lawyers can constitutionalise every issue”.

“Is there a need to regulate the access to, and exercise of the jurisdiction? If so, how do we go about it? By legislation, they sought to regulate and give the court power to determine what cases should be heard and picked. Is that something that we want to think about or do we do it through the court itself? It is in the interest of the republic that litigation must come to an end,” he noted.

Background

The President on July 3 wrote to parliament to announce the nominations unto the Supreme Court bench.

Four nominations were made in total. The first two; Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey and Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau were vetted by the committee Thursday, August 23. The other two; Justice Agnes Mercy Abla Dordzie and Nene A.O. Amegatcher will take their turns before the committee Friday.

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