The Chief Justice nominee Justice Sophia Akuffo has lamented the needless delays in Ghana’s justice delivery system.
She told members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament the delays are part of the “greatest obstacles to justice delivery in the country.”
Justice Sophia Akuffo was one of the four who dissented in the famous Fast Track Court ruling between Tsatsu Tsikata and the Republic.
It took a review decision for the original decision to be reversed.
The Fast Track High Court case was to automate the various high courts in the country and to ensure speedy justice delivery in the country.
But Tsatsu Tsikata, who was then battling the state over charges of causing financial loss to the state through a loan that the GNPC guaranteed Valley Farms, a private cocoa-growing company, challenged the decision by the then government to establish the automated High Courts.
After the Supreme Court overturned its earlier ruling that the Fast Track court was illegal, the high court then went ahead to find Tsatsu Tsikata guilty of causing Financial loss to the state in 2008, a decision which would later be overturned in 2016 by the Court of Appeal.
Having been part of the legal system for several decades and served at the highest court for 20 years, Justice Sophia Akuffo told members of the Appointments Committee that a lot has been done to ensure speedy justice delivery in the country but a lot still remains to be done.
She said when the delays are reduced to the barest minimum, the cost of justice delivery will also reduce drastically.
She also suggested other innovative ways including a possible skype conversation with parties involved in a case to ensure a speedy justice delivery and a reduction in the cost of litigation in the country.
When she was asked by the former Deputy Attorney General Dominic Ayine if there had been a case she lost sleep over whilst presiding, the learned judge said “I don’t think so. I have been proud of being part of all the cases.”
She was, however, quick to cite a case she sat on in which all the judges were “uncomfortable about where the law was taking us. As a result we suggested to the parties to resort to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).”
She said after two months, the parties came back with a solution that was exciting to all of them. She did not mention the name of the case.
The Chief Justice nominee is currently being ‘grilled’ by MPs in a vetting that may take long hours.
All the MPs on the committee have 20 minutes each to ask any question of their choice.