Saturday, June 3, 2017

Chief Justice Woods Legacy

5:35:00 PM


With only a few days to bow out of office, the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina T. Wood enviable successes in Ghanas judicial reform over the past 10 years cannot be swept under the carpet.

          As the first female Chief Justice of Ghana, Mrs Wood under her leadership ensured that judicial independence was underpinned with the core values of integrity, transparency, impartiality among others.

          Under her administration, Code of Ethics for judges and staff was unveiled.       

          Mrs Wood who was appointed in 2007 by former President John Agyekum Kufour under her administration she developed a five year strategic plan (January 2014 to December 2018) to guide the Judiciarys vision. The plan was dubbed Justice without barriers.

          She has also led the review of Procedural codes and Court rules. These rules has led to transparency and efficiency on the part of judges whose role have been diversified with the establishment of specialized courts such as the Financial Crime, Commercial, Human Rights and Electoral Courts among others.

     The outgoing CJ in her bid to support decongest the prisons introduced the Justice For All Programme which brought about a situation where individuals on remand whose cases have not been heard are investigated and appropriate remedies applied.

     It was revealed through the programmme that people who have thrown in jail for over 15 years without trial have their cases reviewed to ensure justice.

          Ms Wood would not be forgotten for her aggressive policy of expanding court infrastructure which has led to the refurbishment of existing court houses and construction of New Courts Complex popularly known among legal practitioners as the Shaolin Temple housing over 40 High Courts.

          Through the dint of hard work, the Judicial Service inaugurated 42 courtroom law court complex situated on the 28th February Road in Accra in September 2015.

          She vigorous championed and promoted Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in a bid to encourage settlement out of court of various commercial cases in a bid to decongest the courts.

          The High Courts now specialized sections are dedicated to Labour, financial, Economic Crimes and Human rights. These courts provide quick, effective and accessible justice.

          As her contribution towards the fight against illegal mining such as galamsey 14 courts have been mandated to deal with such issues.

          Also some courts have specially assigned to deal with Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and National Lottery Authority issues and sits on such cases at the weekends.

          Her mentorship programmes has transformed the lives of students and avenues for girls especially female porters to participate in the programme.

          Under her leadership an E-judgment Library for judges has been inaugurated. The E-judgment would provide judges with easy access to judgment delivered in all the jurisdictions and various specialised courts in the country. 

          The library would also provide judges with the available data-base to obtain particularised search results while being able to highlight and copy portions of a particular judgement, paste it on another document and have the means to print such judgments. 

          The legal research formed an critical component of judgment writing and that the library would foster easy and speedy sharing of knowledge among judges.

           Over the years, judges and lawyers had resorted to doing research manually using hard copies of law reports but the time had now come for them to migrate to a more effective and efficient system, she once advised.

      Among her distinguished roles include currently serving as a member of the Steering Committee of the Avon Global Centre for Women and Justice at Cornell University in the United States.

     She also served on the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board of Kenya having been appointed in August 2011 by then Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and then Prime Minister Raila Odinga with full approval of the Kenyan Parliament.

     She was exalted as one of the three distinguished non-Kenyan Superior Court judges in the Commonwealth.

     Her tenure as the Countrys Chief Justice lead the encouragement of recruiting lawyers to the lower courts and also a host vital judicial decisions by the Supreme Court including the right to vote of prisoners bringing Ghanas legal regime in alignment to international levels.

     There is so much to say about this illustrious lady of the land after her selfless service to the motherland.


By Ghana Leaks Blog


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Ghana Leaks Blog! - Exclusive News Portal From The Motherland.

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