The Judicial Service of Ghana last Thursday held the 13th edition of the Annual Chief Justice’s Forum in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The forum, under the theme: “Justice for All Under Constitutional Rule; Making Justice Delivery Accessible in Pandemic,” was purposed to create a platform for stakeholders to deliberate on key issues in the justice sector and how they could work to enhance the efficiency and effective delivery of justice in the country.
The forum was also meant to serve as feedback mechanism for the Service, where stakeholders would have knowledge of the concerns of the public, in order to come up with strategies that would improve its service delivery.
It would further offer an opportunity for the Service to disseminate information to court users and the general public on its operations to ensure transparency and accountability.
This year’s forum brought together stakeholders from various fields including the Justices of High Court, Judges from the Circuit Court, Magistrate, Lawyers and representatives from the Ghana Bar Association, the Attorney General’s Office, the Judicial Service, Security Service and educational institutions.
Traditional rulers, representatives of religious bodies, both public and private, institutions heads, and assembly men also attended the forum.
Speaking at the forum, the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on the Service several challenges which have hampered the efficient and effective delivery of services in the country.
He said despite the challenges, there was the need to ensure effective and efficient justice delivery, adding that it was a constitutional right for all Ghanaians.
Justice Yeboah said the forum would therefore give stakeholders the opportunity to brainstorm ways to solve the challenges and come out with a framework for the realisation of the constitutional rights of the citizenry.
He revealed the forum would include a breakout session where stakeholders would be put in groups, with each given a sub-theme to deliberate on and give recommendations.
The Chief Justice said the recommendations from the groups would be collated and serves as primary data for the Judiciary in policy formulation and strategic plans.
Justice Yeboah noted that the pandemic did not only bring about challenges but has brought with it several opportunities of embracing technology in delivering justice in the country.
“The real lesson of COVID-19 is that innovation is not ending anytime soon and continuous learning, training and developing of our people will become more critical in the months and years ahead,” he indicated.
He therefore called on the members of the Judicial Service to embrace, adapt and be responsive in the use of technology to enhance justice delivery in effective and efficient manner.
For his part, the President of the Ghana Bar Association, Mr Yaw Acheampong Boafo, revealed that even though the E-Justice system has been launched to introduce technology into justice delivery, lawyers still do not have access to its use in their chambers as promised.
“We still have to print papers, travel to courts in Accra to file processes, as well as travel to courts to be told a Judge is not sitting among other challenges,”he said.
He hoped that these challenges would be solved and other reviews of the justice delivery system done to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in justice delivery.
For his part, the President of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, Nene Sakite II, who spoke on behalf of Nananom, stated the need for the Judiciary Service to provide information about its activities to the general public to foster and enhance their understanding.
He added it would improve transparency and trust between the judiciary and the public.