Brief of Republic v. The High Court (Ex Parte Zanetor)

Brief of Republic v. The High Court (Ex Parte Zanetor) by Legum

Republic Vrs High Court (General Jurisdiction) Accra; Ex-parte Dr. Rawlings (J5 19 of 2016) [2016] GHASC 18 (19 May 2016)

Material Facts:

After the NDC primaries, the applicant, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, was elected parliamentary candidate for the NDC for the Klottey-Korle constituency. Following a court action by the candidates who lost to the applicant, the High Court held that the applicant ought to have been a registered voter at the time of her contest in the primaries. The applicant applied for a writ of certiorari to quash the judgement of the High Court on grounds that the Justice of the Court wrongfully assumed jurisdiction to interpret and define the scope of application of article 94 (1) (a) of the 1992 Constitution.


1. Whether the Justice of the High Court should have stayed proceedings and referred to the Supreme Court for the interpretation of article 94(1)(a).


1. The Justice of the High Court should have stayed proceedings.

Ratio Decidendi:

In a four-one majority ruling, the Justices believed that there was the need to interpret if article 94 (1) (a) meant that a candidate in a parliamentary primary also needed to be a registered voter before being eligible for the primaries or if the provision of being a registered voter only applied to the general elections. The Justices believed that the High Court Justice had erred when he adopted a particular interpretation of article 94 (1) (a) despite the ambiguity. Since the Supreme Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to interpret the constitution, the matter ought to have been referred to the Supreme Court per article 130(2)