The Judicial Service has begun a process to merge lower courts in the country by making district and circuit courts operate under the same jurisdiction.
The Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, who made this known in Accra yesterday, said a draft bill for the proposed merger had already been sent to the Presidency for Executive consideration.
She explained that the merger would help provide effective judicial services for people in remote areas and small business owners who often had to resort to the High Courts located in the regional capitals.
“There is the need for the setting up of small claims courts and the utilisation of lower courts for that purpose across the country to handle the myriad of challenges faced by our small and medium enterprises. It will also help resolve business issues, including the enforcement of contracts, in addition to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process,” Justice Akuffo added.
The Chief Justice was speaking at the Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors (GARIA) Master-class programme on a new Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992).
The programme is aimed at educating business executives and professionals, such as lawyers, on progressive business reforms contained in the new act which was passed into law after years of advocacy by individuals and professional bodies, with GARIA leading the charge.
The Chief Justice explained that companies’ legislation was key for the creation of the conducive environment needed for businesses to thrive in a country.
She said such legislation provided the framework within which companies were formed, financed and managed for the benefit of various stakeholders and the economy, adding: “It governs the right relationship and conduct of stakeholders.”
According to her, the Companies Act would help ensure that Ghana became a business destination of choice and also realised its goal of being among the leading nations with the ease of doing business.
In an interview, the President of GARIA, Mr Felix Addo, explained that the master-class was necessary to educate the public on the new provisions embedded in the act to help them conduct their businesses accordingly.
“Now that the law has been assented to, we first need to get people to know what the new law says, so education is key, and that is what the master-class stands for. We are informing business people, lawyers and anybody who is interested in opening a company to know what the new law requires of them,” he added.
Some of the significant provisions introduced in the law, according to him, included a generic constitution for companies.
“We used to have regulations for companies, but now it’s called a constitution. So when a company is formed, instead of taking pains to draft or develop a new constitution, now we have a default constitution which can be used by all companies,” Mr Addo said.
He added that under the new act, there was no need to secure a commencement certificate before operating a business, noting that “that has been scrapped under the new law”.