Introduction to the Administration of Justice

Note on Introduction to the Administration of Justice by Legum

Introduction to the Administration of Justice:

The Administration of Justice is the process by which the legal system of a country is executed. It is held that the presumed goal of administering justice is to provide justice for all those who assess the country’s legal system.

The courts are considered central to the administration of justice, and legal systems provide for the establishment of courts to actualize the administration of justice.

Some functions of the Court:

1. Provides an impartial forum for the resolution of disputes between individuals, between individuals and the State/ private institutions.

2. Uphold the rights of citizens.

3. Provides reliefs and remedies to parties (for example obtaining an injunction against a public gathering).

4. Helps ensure good governance and constitutionalism (for example the court can declare an action by the government unconstitutional as was done in the 31st December case)

5. Has the duty to provide untrammelled access to justice.

Source of Validity for the Courts:

According to article 125(1) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana, “Justice emanates from the people and shall be administered in the name of the Republic by the Judiciary which shall be independent and subject only to this Constitution.” Further, clause 3 of article 125 states that “The judicial power of Ghana shall be vested in the Judiciary, accordingly, neither the President nor Parliament nor any organ or agency of the President or Parliament shall have or be given final judicial power.”

Composition and Mode of Exercise of Power of Judiciary:

Article 126(1) of the 1992 constitution,

The Judiciary shall consist of

a. the Superior Courts of Judicature comprising

i. the Supreme Court

ii. the Court of Appeal; and

iii. the High Court and Regional Tribunals;

b. such lower courts or tribunals as Parliament may by law establish

The Courts Act 1993 and amended by the Courts Act 2002 also establishes and defines the jurisdiction of the superior and inferior courts. Inferior courts include circuit courts, district courts, tribunals, judicial committees of national, regional house of chiefs and traditional councils.

Removal of Justices of the Superior Courts: Article 146:

Article 146(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides that “A Justice of the Superior Court or a Chairman of a Regional Tribunal shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour or incompetence or on ground of inability to perform the functions of his office arising from infirmity of Body or mind.”

Removal of Justices other than the Chief Justice:

1. Determine if there is a prima facie case: When the President receives a petition for the removal of a Justice of the Superior Court other than the CJ, the president shall refer the petition to the CJ to determine if there is a prima facie case. (Article 146(3)).

2. Committee Formation: If there is a prima facie case, the chief justice shall set up a committee consisting of three Justices of the Superior Courts or Chairmen of the Regional Tribunals or both, appointed by the Judicial Council and two other persons who are not members of the Council of State, nor members of Parliament, nor lawyers, and who shall be appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of the Council of State. Article 146(4).

3. Recommendations and Report: The committee shall investigate and make recommendations to the CJ who then forwards their report back to the president. Article 146(5).

Removal of the Chief Justice:

1. Committee Appointment: Acting in consultation with the Council of State, the President shall appoint a committee consisting of two Justices of the Supreme Court, one of whom shall be appointed chairman by the President, and three other persons who are not members of the Council of State, nor members of Parliament, nor lawyers. Article 146(6).

2. Recommendations and Report: The committee shall enquire into the petition for removal and report back to the president, recommending whether the CJ ought to be removed from office. Article 146(7).