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Opinions of Monday, 23 November 2015

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

I Disagree With This Court Motion – Public Please Help!

This publication is specifically for seeking the public opinion and also for educating the public on a court motion raised with intent to delay through invocation of the technicalities of the law, if not to obstruct the attainment of justice.

Being a layman in the law profession but knowing very well that it does not take one to be a lawyer to know the law, I have taken a few precious minutes of my time to do a quick search on the internet and have come out with the following.

Let me inform the public that for the purpose of proving my point beyond reasonable doubt, almost this entire publication will be quotations as found on the internet with a few intermittent views or questions submitted by me.

It is all about a case being filed by a plaintiff in a certain court of law, a High Court of course, requesting the defendant to produce certain vital documents.

The defendant, instead of producing the asked-for documents, has rather submitted a motion alleging that the particular High Court has no jurisdiction over cases of that kind. The defendant says the case must rather be heard by a High Court Judge in the Regional Capital.

My problem is, is it true that any High Court Judge, with HIGH COURT emphasized, within the same region but not in the regional capital, is not able to hear a case which is within the remit of High Court Judges for the simple reason that he/she is not operating from the regional capital?

"The highest appellate court is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, followed by the Court of Appeal. The highest court in which originating process may be issued is the High Court of England and Wales. The High Court is based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London and in District Registries elsewhere"

The quoted statement about the United Kingdom's judiciary is a catch for the reading public to find out. I am not going to spend time expounding on why it was quoted.

Coming back to Ghana, let us familiarise ourselves with the Mission Statement of the Judiciary/Judicial Service of Ghana which is, "The Judiciary is an independent arm of State created to resolve legal conflicts according to law, impartially and efficiently to all persons without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. We do this by the true and proper interpretation, application and implementation of the laws of Ghana"

In Ghana, the Court Judges are in the underlying order of supremacy:

Supreme Court Judges
Court of Appeal Judges
High Court Judges
Circuit Court Judges
District Court Magistrates

With the Supreme Court being the Highest Instance. "The Supreme Court of Ghana consists of the Chief Justice and fourteen other Justices. The Court is the final court of appeal and has jurisdiction over matters relating to the enforcement or the interpretation of constitutional law".

"The Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear and to determine appeals from any judgment, decree, or High Court of Justice order".

"The High Court of Justice consists of the chief justice and not fewer than twenty other justices. The High court has jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, other than those involving treason".

Why is the defendant in this case presenting a motion to a High Court Judge sitting in court from one of the locations below that he has no right to hear the case but a similar High Court in the Regional capital? Are all High Court Judges not of same jurisdiction over cases that can be decided in High Courts?

In Ghana, High Courts of Justice are located in certain areas among which are:
Agona Swedru Regional High Court (Central Region)
Akim Oda Regional High Court (Eastern region)
Bolgatanga Regional High Court (Upper East Region)
Cape Coat Regional High Court (Central Region)
Denu Regional High Court (Volta Region)
Ho Regional High Court (Volta Region)
Hohoe Regional High Court (Volta Region)
Koforidua Regional High Court (Eastern region)
Kumasi Regional High Court (Ashanti Region)
Mampong Regional High Court (Ashanti Region)
Nkawkaw Regional High Court (Eastern region)
Sekondi Regional High Court (Western Region)
Sunyani Regional High Court (Brong Ahafo Region)
Tamale Regional High Court (Northern Region)
Tema Regional High Court
Wa Regional High Court (Upper West Region)
Wenchi Regional High Court (Brong Ahafo Region)

What is a Court Motion? A motion is a written request or proposal to the court to obtain an asked-for order, ruling, or direction. "When you become involved in a lawsuit, you may want the court to agree to something outside of the normal litigation process. For example, you or your opponent may want the court to drop the case (motion to dismiss) or to decide the winner without having to undergo a full trial (motion for summary judgment). To take advantage of these opportunities during the litigation process, you'll have to file a motion with the court.

In the case under discussion, the defendant is blatantly refusing to provide the requested documents hence ignorantly challenging the authority of a High Court Judge as explained earlier.

With the little said, I would like to read the expressed views by the public as to whether or not a High Court in say, Hoehoe (District or Municipal Capital in the Volta region) has the right to hear and decide a case that a similar High Court in Ho (Regional capital of Volta region) has jurisdiction over.

I wonder how some people in the wake of Anas Aremeyaw Anas' exposure of judicial corruption still believe they can circumvent justice by resorting to their corrupt old ways.

Rockson Adofo