Outgoing Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, has cautioned would-be law students, law students and practising lawyers who are entertaining thoughts that the incoming Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, will relax standards, to manage their expectations because her potential successor is more of a person who insists on things unyieldingly than she has been.
Addressing a valedictory ceremony held in her honour at the Supreme Court today, the 18th of December 2019, Justice Sophia Akuffo, said if people are expecting the standards to be lowered during the time of Justice Anin Yeboah, they have to rethink that position.
“We need to be very serious about standards if we don’t want to end up with lawyers who do more harm than good. Even though we don’t have the same tenets as the medical profession where it says “first do no harm,” I think we can do with adopting that tenet. I have been listening to the radio and people have been saying things like when the new Chief Justice comes…. They don’t know! I think he is even more of a stickler than I am,” Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo said.
Tribute to All Fourth Republican Presidents
The Chief Justice paid glowing tribute to all five Presidents Ghana has had under the fourth republican constitution. She indicated that Former President Jerry John Rawlings, appointed her to the Supreme Court some 24 years ago and she is eternally grateful to him. To Former President John Kufour, the lady Chief Justice said he nominated her to served at the African Court for Peoples and Human Rights which is located in Tanzania. During her stay in the International Court, she also served as the Vice President and President of the Court before returning to the Supreme Court of Ghana in 2014. She also talked about how late Former President John Atta Mills and Former President John Mahama gave her great support during their term of office while she served at the International Court. To President Akufo Addo, she indicated that she served as his first “pupil” after law school where she learnt a great deal as far as the legal profession is concerned. She further noted that it was also during the time of President Akufo Addo, that she was appointed the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana.
To Members of the Bench
Turning her attention to her colleagues on the Bench, she registered her since thanks to all of them for their support whilst she served as Chief Justice. She described Justice-Retired William Atuguba, who was present at the ceremony as her twin brother because they were both appointed to the Supreme Court on the same day and she acknowledged the support she enjoyed from him during their time on the Bench together.
Bar Association President
President of the Ghana Bar Association, Anthony Forson in his remarks at the ceremony described the outgoing Chief Justice as a thorough and honest person who never allowed the outcome of flogged issues to determine the future relationship with affected persons.
“My online research last night revealed that up to May 2019, you had delivered over sixty five (65) lead judgements in the Supreme Court and your hard work and dedication are quietly applauded by your colleagues,” the Bar President Anthony Forson stated.
“The Bar Association salutes you and prays that you enter retirement with pride. You have distinguished yourself and you are an ornament to yourself, your friends, and relatives and you have served your country well,” Forson added.
The AG and Leader of the Bar
The Attorney General and leader of the Bar in Ghana, Gloria Akuffo, on her part said the outgoing Chief Justice throughout her working life has been very principled.
“Working with her brought me great lessons. She brought to work a huge exposure from the International Community as well as her service in the Judiciary of Ghana. She brought a lot of institutional memory as she chaired the Judicial Council and the General Legal Council,” the Attorney General said.
“As you served notice to the Bar at the religious service in your Honour, you told us you will be gone but you will still be watching us. That notice is duly acknowledged and accepted,” Attorney General Akuffo added.
Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo is due for retirement from the Supreme Court on the 20th of December 2019 after serving for twenty-four (24) years at the Apex Court of Ghana.