Judges must exhibit high sense of integrity - CJ
Judges must exhibit high sense of integrity - CJ Website
The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, on Tuesday called on judges and magistrates to exhibit high sense of integrity, ethics, efficiency and selflessness in the discharge of their duties. She said as true patriots they must determine matters or cases before them impartially and in accordance with the law, and anything short of that would amount to dishonourable conduct. Mrs Wood was speaking at the swearing-in of eight Circuit Court Judges and 18 Districts magistrates in Accra. The Chief Justice also said the work experience of the new magistrates with the judicial service placed them in a rather unique position and gave them the rare privilege of knowing at first hand the workings of the judiciary. She urged the new magistrates to use the experiences that they had gained from their attachment to the District courts and its specialized courts such as the family courts and juvenile courts as well as their visits to the prisons to sharpen their skills and prepare them for the task ahead. Mrs Wood also reminded the judges and magistrates to actively promote Alternative Dispute Resolution in appropriate cases, since it was cost effective and a healthy method of resolving disputes especially at the district level. She said the judges should proactively promote ADR and use all legitimate arguments to persuade disputants and lawyers who fear that ADR could led to loss of economic and social power, prestige and influence, as a first option, to give it a try and request a court room trial only if an out of court settlement failed. Chief Justice Wood called on the new judges and magistrates to show genuine respect to the people who would appear in court and not lord it over them or take them for granted. "See them as people with value and serve them. People in court are people in distress. Be firm with them, but treat them with civility," she said. Ms Gertrude Aikins, Acting Director of Public Prosecution, who represented the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joe Ghartey appealed to the judges and magistrates to take juvenile justice delivery seriously and ensure that maintenance orders issued by the courts were enforced to make fathers responsible for the upkeep of their children. She also urged them to expedite action on cases that come before them to ensure speedy justice delivery. Nii Osa Mills, President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), urged the new judges to apply the laws and the experience that they had acquired to bear on the justice delivery. He called on them to research and also consult some of the experience judges to enhance their work. The eight new judges who have been promoted as circuit court judges started off as magistrates whiles most of the 18 new magistrates appointed were lawyers who first joined the Judicial Service of Ghana as degree holders and served in the registries and other units. Some of them served as court managers to Judges of the Commercial Court and their duties included undertaking research work for the judges and editing court transcripts. Besides, the Judicial Training Institute, organised a training course for the magistrates in selected core subjects including juvenile justice, civil procedure practice, judicial ethics as well as having fruitful interactions with distinguish judges, lawyers in private practice and academia to deepen their understanding of what was expected of them.