President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged judges of the High Court to demonstrate, in during their period in office, that they are honest, possess integrity and a sound knowledge of the law.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the situation, where judges proffer judgements on the basis of decisions from lower courts and cite them as law, is not acceptable, and even less so, when judges cite no authority at all for their rulings and give orders without reasons.
“You must be learned, know your case law and ensure your judgements are properly motivated. The principle of stare decisis, the ancient common law doctrine of precedent, has been, and continues to be the time-honoured foundation for the coherent development of the law, and should not be lightly discarded,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday when he swore into office seven new High Court judges, at a brief ceremony at Jubilee House, Accra.
The judges are Afia Nyarko Adu-Amankwa, John Ekow Mensah, Janet Anima Maafo, Matthew Kyeremateng, Joan Eyi King, Frederick Tetteh, and John Eugene Nyante Nyadu.
Describing the High Court as “the focal point for justice delivery in our judicial structure”, the President indicated that much of the work of the Judiciary begins and ends there.
“It is, therefore, critical for the growth of our nation that the High Court commands the respect of the people by the quality of its justice, as well as by the comportment of its judges,” he added.
Despite the exposé of Anas Aremeyaw Anas into judicial corruption, President Akufo-Addo stated that news persists of perceived acts of corruption in the delivery of Justice, especially at the High Court.
“This cannot, and must not be allowed to continue, and any judge, found to be misconducting himself or herself, should know that he or she will face the full rigours of the law,” he said.
The dispensation of justice, President Akufo-Addo said, requires that application of the laws of the land must occur, “in the hallowed words of the judicial oath, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, that is, without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any person the object of justice.”
He added that “when a citizen falls foul of the law, any citizen, high or low, that citizen must be dealt with accordingly, and the law enforcement agencies, including you, our new judges, must ensure this is done. That is the true meaning of the concept of equality before the law.”
The President said the citizenry must build “a new Ghanaian civilisation, where the rule of law is not a slogan, but an operating principle for the development of our State.
“Where the separation of powers is real and meaningful, where public officials behave with honesty and integrity, where the liberties and rights of our people are fully protected, and where law and order provide a firm basis for our social and economic development so that the dreams of freedom and prosperity that animated the great patriots, who founded our nation, can find concrete expression in our generation.”