The Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, has issued additional directives to the bench in a bid to decongest the courts and prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Earlier this week, the Judicial Service directed courts to practice strict case management techniques to curb the spread of the coronavirus by allowing only parties and witness in cases to be allowed in courtrooms.
However, as a way to implement the social distancing directives issued by President Nana Akufo-Addo at the start of this week, the Chief Justice has issued seven new directives to the bench.
The coronavirus case count for Ghana risen to 16 amid fears the numbers may rise significantly in the coming weeks.
The pandemic has infected over 200,000 persons globally with at least 10,000 deaths.
“We are operating in very unusual times with no precedents to guide us. It is therefore imperative that all Stakeholders in the Justice delivery system work together to ensure that the needs of the citizenry for Justice are adequately satisfied,” Justice Anin Yeboah said in a statement issued on Friday.
Before listing the additional directives to the bench in his statement, the Chief Justice urged the Bar to request its members to attend court without their clients and request long adjournments of cases to be listed for hearing at the end of May, June or July 2020.
“The cases will be adjourned to specific dates and times in line with the earlier case management directive issued.
“Alternatively, Lawyers on both sides of a case may agree together to adjourn the matter to a specific date to be communicated to the Registrar in writing, thus avoiding the need to travel to the Court for that purpose,” the Justice Anin Yeboah stated.
The Judiciary has also been directed to do the following:
1. Judges and Magistrates should ensure that in Part-heard cases, only Lawyers, Parties and their witnesses are allowed in Court.
2. Judges and Magistrates should ensure that in other cases only Lawyers and parties are allowed in Court.
3. Only parties in a case with their Lawyers may enter the Courtroom when the specific case is called.
4. Judges and Magistrates should be flexible in granting adjournments during this period.
5. Judges and Magistrates should grant long adjournments in matters which do not require immediate resolution.
6. Registrars should bear these directives in mind in fixing dates in order to decongest the Courts.
7. These directives are supplemental to the directives issued on 16th March 2020.