The Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, has assured the public that the judiciary will continue to adopt technology in order to expand access to justice delivery.
In a message at a special church service to usher in the new legal year last Saturday, the Chief Justice said the COVID-19 pandemic showed the importance of technology, with the judiciary adopting many digital tools in order to serve the public, while at the same time, avoiding the spread of the virus in courtrooms.
Justice Anin Yeboah said the judiciary had already started utilising technology in its operations before the pandemic, and would continue to aggressively pursue that to improve access to justice delivery.
The Chief Justice mentioned some of the technological initiatives as the automation of High Courts in Accra under the e-Justice project, the e-Judgement system and the national digitisation project, which was digitising court documents in selected courts across the country.
“Today, with the use of teleconferencing equipment that we have procured, we are able to organise virtual hearings in some of our courts, with incalculable benefits for speed and convenience to all who have to interact with the justice system,” Justice Anin Yeboah said.
However, the Chief Justice said in spite of the technological drive, justice delivery would only improve if all the stakeholders in the justice delivery system performed their duties diligently as ascribed by law.
“Let us remember that the justice system rests on our daily actions and so we should endeavour to place those actions in the best possible light,” Justice Anin Yeboah indicated.
New legal year
The 65th legal year, which commences today and ends on July 31, next year, is the calendar period during which the judiciary fully operates.
In August and September, majority of judges go on vacation, with a few judges staying on call to work in order for the wheel or justice not to grind to a halt.
The 65th legal year is on the theme “Improving Access to Justice in a pandemic through the use of technology.”
Last Saturday’s church service at the Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity of the Anglican Church in Accra was the first church service to mark a new legal year since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020.
Aside from the Chief Justice, other justices of the superior courts, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, the President of the Ghana Bar Association, Yaw Boafo, and the Director of the Ghana School of Law, Yaw Oppong, also attended the church service.
The Attorney-General, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said his expectation of the new legal year was for the judiciary to continue to dispense justice efficiently as it always did, with emphasis on fairness, justice and the rule of law.
“Lawyers must also play their part. Sound advocacy is what enables judges to deliver justice in a manner required by law. The duty is not only on the judges but lawyers also play a major role,” Mr Dame said.
Delivering the sermon, Archbishop Emeritus of the West African Province of the Anglican Church, Most Rev. Dr Robert Garshong Allotey Okine, advised judges and officers of the law to uphold integrity and not sacrifice it for expediency.
“Do not fail to do what you know is right. Again, be consistent in your utterances and actions. Inconsistencies are major problems facing our society. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no,” Most Rev. Okine said.
He also urged judges to refrain from all forms of corruption that would affect their duties and derail the effective administration of justice.