The total number of judges dispensing justice from the lowest to the highest courts in Ghana is fewer than 300, a Court of Appeal judge has revealed.
Justice SK Marful-Sau says the failure of successive governments to expand the infrastructure for justice delivery has accounted for the situation.
He said this is to blame for the undue delays in the adjudication of cases by the courts.
He said since independence, much has not been done for the third arm of government which plays a crucial role in the democratic development of the country.
“If we want the rule of law to work, we must invest in the judiciary. Look at Accra, since independence what courts have we built?" the respected jurist asked.
He was speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday as a prelude to the Seventh Annual Chief Justice’s Forum which is on the theme: “Integrity: The Key to Effective Justice Delivery.”
Justice Marful-Sau came to national prominence after declaring as unlawful, criminal prosecutions instituted against former Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani and Chief Executive of the erstwhile Ghana@50 Secretariat, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby.
He told Sedem Ofori on the Morning Show that “We haven’t done much for the judiciary since independence that is why there are delays.”
There have been complaints, sometimes angst about the slowness of the country’s justice delivery system.
But Justice Marful-Sau said the blame cannot be placed on judges.
He said whilst the number of cases that go to court multiply yearly, the infrastructure has remained stagnant and in some cases actually deteriorated.
Justice Marful-Sau advocated the establishment of a fund that would be used to expand the infrastructure of the justice delivery system in the country. He said it is absolutely necessary to do this.
“If you know the importance of the judiciary in the development of the country, nobody will tell you that there is need for such a fund,” he stated.
He said any potential investors desirous of investing will first assess the dispute resolution mechanisms in the country.
"If it takes 10 years to give judgment on one case, will they come"? he asked.
He said it was regrettable that judges are gradually going back to using long-hand to record court proceedings because some of the equipment installed in the automated courts have broken down.
If all the courts were automated and the equipment properly maintained, Justice Marful-Sau said it would do judges a great deal of good.
Supporting his argument, Justice Mrs Gertrude Torkonoo, who was also on the show, said the state of some of the courts is not conducive for effective justice delivery.
She cited the Community Centre Court near the Supreme Court building in Accra and said the court was in a very deplorable state.
"The AMA (Accra Metropolitan Assembly) is in charge of that court and the AMA has very nice offices but the court is" left in a dilapidated state, she said.