Court system to expand access to justice through technology – Chief Justice

Justice Anin Yeboah (3rd from right), the Chief Justice and other Supreme Court judges in procession to the church service. Source: Graphic Online

The Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, has assured the public that the Judiciary will continue to embrace technology to expand access to justice.

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 has shown the importance of technology, with the judiciary adopting many digital tools 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 using technology in its operations before the pandemic and would continue to aggressively pursue it to improve access to justice.

Technological drive

The Chief Justice mentioned some of the technological initiatives such as the automation of the High Courts in Accra under the e-Justice Project, the e-Justice System and the National Digitization Project which is digitizing court documents in selected courts across the country.

“Today, with the use of teleconferencing equipment we have purchased, we are able to hold virtual hearings in some of our courts, with immeasurable benefits in speed and convenience for all who have to interact with the court system,” said a judge Anin Yeboah.

However, the Chief Justice said that despite the technological drive, the dispensation of justice will improve only if all stakeholders in the justice delivery system diligently perform their duties as prescribed by law.

“Let us remember that the judicial system is based on our daily actions and therefore we must strive to present those actions in the best possible light,” Justice Annin Yeboah pointed out.

New legal year

The 65th statutory year, which begins today and ends on July 31 next year, is the calendar period during which the judicial system is fully operational.

In August and September, the majority of judges go on vacation, with few remaining on call to work so that the wheel or justice does not stop.

The 65th Legal Year is themed “Improving access to justice during a pandemic through the use of technology”.

Last Saturday’s church service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church of the Anglican Church in Accra was the first church service to mark a new legal year since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

Apart from the Chief Justice, other High Court Judges, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Godfred Yeboa Dame, the President of the Ghana Bar Association, Yau Boafo and the Director of the Ghana Law School, Yau Oppong, also attended the church service.

Expectation

The Attorney General in an interview with the Daily Graphic said his expectation for the new legal year is that the judiciary will continue to dispense justice efficiently as always with emphasis on fairness, justice and the rule of law.

“Lawyers also have to play their part. Good advocacy is what enables judges to dispense justice in the manner required by law. The onus is not only on the judges but also on the lawyers who play an important role,” Mr Dame said.

Sermon

Delivering the homily, the Archbishop Emeritus of the West African Province of the Church of England, Most Rev. Dr. Robert Garshong Alotei Okine, advised judges and officers of the law to uphold integrity and not sacrifice it for expediency.

“Don’t fail to do what you know is right. Again, be consistent in your words and actions. Inequalities are major problems facing our society. Let your yes be yes and your no be no,” said Reverend Okine.

He also called on judges to refrain from any form of corruption that would affect their duties and undermine the effective administration of justice.

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