President Akufo-Addo has for the first time since assuming office sworn into office five Justices to the Superior Court Of Judicature specifically, the Court of Appeal, charging the new Judges to respect and defend the liberties of every Ghanaian.
Addressing attendees of the ceremony held at the banquet hall of the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo said the Judiciary remains the only institution that all Ghanaians can run to for justice. The President therefore drew the attention of the New Judges to the fact that they ought to be Judges who are honest, possess integrity and sound knowledge of the law.
With all these virtues, the President said, the Judiciary can confidently assist in efforts aimed at moving Ghana to a nation ruled by the full compliments of the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability.
Response By the New Court of Appeal Judges
In a response on behalf of her colleagues, Justice Merley Afua Wood said herself and her fellow judges are appreciative of the confidence reposed in them. She pledged that they will work diligently to the best of their abilities and dispense justice to all manner of persons without fear or favour.
The New Judges
The Judges who assume office at the Court of Appeal are Justice Nicholas Charles Abbey Abgevor, Justice Alex Beechie Poku-Acheampong (Judicial Secretary), Justice Anthony Kwodwo Yeboah, Justice Merley Afua Wood and Justice Amma Abuakwa Gaisie. Apart from Justice Amma Abuakwa Gaisie who is a former Solicitor General now appointed to the Bench, all the remaining four Judges has been promoted from their positions as High Court Judges.
The Office and Powers of a Court of Appeal Judge
Articles 136, 137 and 138 of the 1992 Constitution are solely dedicated to the position of a Court of Appeal Judge and their powers. Article 136. States as follows; (1) The Court of Appeal shall consist of – (a) the Chief Justice; (b) subject to clauses (2) and (3) of this article, not less than ten Justices of the Court of Appeal; and (c) such other Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature as the Chief Justice may, for the determination of a particular cause or matter by writing signed by him, request to sit in the Court of Appeal for any specified period.
(2) The Court of Appeal shall be duly constituted by any three of the Justices referred to in clause (1) of this article and when so constituted, the most senior of the justices shall preside.
Qualifications/ Jurisdiction of a Court of Appeal Judge
(3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Justice of the Court of Appeal unless he is of high moral character and proven integrity and is of not less than twelve years’ standing as a lawyer. (4) The Chief Justice may create such divisions of the Court of Appeal as he considers necessary to sit in such places as he may determine.
Article 137(1) states that, The Court of Appeal shall have 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.
Powers of a Single Justice of the Court of Appeal
Article 138 also provides that, A single Justice of the Court of Appeal may exercise a power vested in the Court of Appeal not involving the decision of a cause or matter before the Court of Appeal, except that –
(a) in criminal matters, where that Justice refuses or grants an application in the exercise of any such power conferred by this article, may be varied, discharged or reversed by the Court of Appeal as duly constituted.
Note: An Earlier version of this story had indicated that the judges were sworn into the Supreme Court. We apologise for the inconveniences.