Administration of Justice: Court of Appeal

Note on Administration of Justice: Court of Appeal by Legum



Per Article 136(1), the court of Appeal is composed of the CJ and at least ten other justices.

Duly Constituted: Per Article 136(2), the court shall be duly constituted by any three of the justices of the court.

Membership: Per 136(3), only persons of high moral character and proven integrity with not less than twelve years standing as a lawyer shall be qualified for appointment to the CA.

Jurisdiction of the CA:

Unlike the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal has no original jurisdiction, and only exercises appellate jurisdiction. The Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal is provided in Article 137 of the Constitution of Ghana.

1. Country-wide jurisdiction: In Article 137(1), the CA has jurisdiction throughout Ghana “…to hear and determine, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, appeals from a judgement, decree or order of the High Court and Regional Tribunals and such other appellate jurisdiction as may be conferred on it by this Constitution or any other law.”

2. Appeal as of Right: Appeal as at right from a judgement, decree, or order of the high court and a regional tribunal (137(2)).

3. Additional Jurisdiction: Per Article 137(3), the CA shall have all the powers, authority and jurisdiction vested in the court from which appeal is brought.

4. Final court of appeal for an election petition determined by the High Court. See In re Parliamentary Election for Wulensi and Zakaria v Nyimakan

Powers of the Court of Appeal in Criminal Cases:

Section 13 of the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459) defines the powers of the court of Appeal in Special Cases.

1. Confirmation of Sentence or Passing a Substituted Sentence: In section 13(1), the court can confirm the sentence passed at trial or pass a new sentence to substitute the sentence passed at trial.

2. Instances of insanity: Per Section 13(5) of Act 459, if the court of appeal is satisfied that a guilty person was insane at the time of the commission of a crime, the court may set aside the sentence passed and order the appellant t be kept in custody as a criminally insane person.

3. Order retrial in a court of competent jurisdiction: Per section 13(6) of Act 459, if the Court of Appeal finds that proceedings in the trial court were a nullity either through want of jurisdiction or otherwise, the Court of Appeal may order the appellant to be tried by a court of competent jurisdiction.

4. Order retrial in the interest of justice: Per Section 13(7) of Act 459, If the Court Appeal is satisfied that owing to exceptional circumstances the interest of justice requires that there should be a re-trial, the Court may order a retrial on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.