Over 59,000 cases pending in Ghana courts – Judge
A Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Samuel Marful-Sau, has advised judges to work hard to clear the backlog of more than 59,000 cases that was pending at the various courts across the country.
He said, they could do this by being proactive in the application of the CI 87 to ensure expeditious disposal of the cases.
The CI 87 is an amendment of the High Court Procedure of CI 47 2004 which regulates civil proceedings in the High and Circuits courts.
Justice Marful-Sau said even though the main objective of enacting the CI 87 was to shorten trial in the high and circuit courts, some lawyers and judges were yet to come to terms with the purpose and objective of the Act and were still holding on to the traditional system.
Mr. Justice Marful-Sau was speaking at the 2016 Jurists’ Confab of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Faculty of Law on the Topic “Application of witness statement as a tool for early disposal of civil cases” on Friday.
The Confab was on the theme “Configuring the law for contemporary Ghana”.
According to the 2014/2015 annual report of the Judicial Service, a total of 25,795 cases were pending at the high courts, 11,816 were at the Circuit Courts and 22,795 at the District courts.
The Appeals Court Judge said the statistics which had increased by now, was alarming considering the various reforms by the Judiciary since 2004 aimed at ensuring speedy and expeditious disposal of civil cases in the courts.
He explained that years after the introduction of the CI 47, the disposal of civil cases have not improved as expected, hence the introduction of the CI 87.
He said the CI 87 if properly applied would enhance efficient, effective and speedy disposal of civil cases and urged judges to take early control of the management of the cases brought before them for their early disposal.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Prof. George Kweku Toku Oduro said Ghana could not pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which seeks to eradicate poverty and promote peace without a sound legal system.
He believed that deliberations such as the Jurist’s confab would go a long way to contribute to the provision and delivery of sufficient law education that would be responsible to the needs of the country.
Prof Oduro challenged law lecturers, the bar and the bench to ensure sustainable appreciation of the procedure, evidence and ethics of the profession.
He therefore called effective collaboration between the key stakeholders to find ways of mitigating some of the factors that contributed to the poor quality of law graduates being produced in recent times.
The Provost of the Faculty of Humanities and Legal Studies, Prof. S. B Kendie appealed to Government to consider lifting the ban on employment to enable the University recruit lecturers for the faculty of law to improve teaching and learning.
The founding Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson said the purpose of the confab was to create a dialogue between the critical stakeholders in Law to help UCC produce quality lawyers.