Capping the number of SC Justices will lead to unnecessary case loads – Sophia Akuffo

A Former Chief Justice Ms Sophia Akuffo has said the number of Justices appointed to the Supreme Court should not be capped.

In her view, if this is done, it will “open door to the SC leads to unnecessary case loads and it slows down the pace of cases, making it difficult to say cap the number of judges at the SC.

“I do not think capping is necessary because the scope of the jurisdiction of the SC is too broad and we need to take a look at it.

“I am not in a position to say the Constitution should now cap the number, but if you want to cap, then we need to also reduce access to the SC, and then we will have something that will be quality-based rather than quantity-based,” she said.

Chief Justice Anin Yeboah also explained his position on this matter saying, “They are thinking of cases like the rise of Guantanamo Bay precedence, not your personal injury resulting from an accident on the highway which can go through the hierarchy of the superior courts in Ghana, and the SC judge has no objection but hear it because he is bound by law.

“But there (US), where it all started, it is not like that at all; you cannot compel the SC there to hear those sorts of cases.

“However, in Ghana, what the Constitution says is that some of these cases which commence from the High Court must be heard on second appeal as of right. And who are you to say ‘no’?” he asked rhetorically.

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“So when people start talking about capping the number of judges at the SC, with all apologies, some of them may not know the nature of the jurisdiction of the court, and it is a cause for worry. They must take their time to ask and they will be told,” Justice Anin Yeboah said.

They shared their views calls to cap the number of justices appointed to the highest court of the land at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) stakeholder engagement on constitutional review in Accra last Tuesday.

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) was recently reported top have said that the number should be capped.

The Public Relations Officer of the Association, Saviour Kudze, said “the way our constitution is now, if we don’t put a ceiling on it, it will not help us.”

Mr. Kudze said, “it will depend on the work at hand.”

“Many more cases are going on appeal now and the Supreme Court happens to be the highest and final appellate court, so for me, going forward, we need to look at it and see if you can have some ceiling. It cannot be left just like that.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana