GBA pushes for virtual court system 

The President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) says the country can adopt the use of electronic systems in court proceedings to help ensure speedy justice delivery. 

Lawyer Yaw Acheampong Boafo, however, says this good option can be realized if the country’s judiciary invests in resources and laws to aid in its implementation.

The GBA President was speaking at 2022 Annual Chief Justice’s Forum currently ongoing in Kumasi.

The Judicial Service of Ghana instituted the Annual Chief Justice’s Forum as part of measures to enhance its public image, trust and confidence through engagement with stakeholders on issues of access to justice, transparency and accountability.

The annual event also brings together key stakeholders to deliberate on pertinent issues that affect the administration of justice.

It also serves as a platform to receive feedback on justice delivery.

The GBA President pointed out that the traditional modes of justice administration and judicial processes – with their well-known challenges – sometimes breed frustration, result in delays and blockage of cases.

“Thus, the time is now for a transition face-to-face court proceedings to digital modes of delivering justice by the courts embracing newer and modern technologies that support the various court processes and proceedings. The virtual court hearings during the legal vacation was a welcome innovation.

“The exigencies and challenges of the time brought about by the pandemic should serve as a catalyst for reform and innovation,” he stated.

“It is my conviction that it is possible to implement technological or digitization tools that host and drive almost the entire legal processes from the time of filing to serve through discovery, case management, trial and even to delivery of judgments in ways that ensure accessible justice,” he said.

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Lawyer Acheampong Boafo also proposed the publication of key court judgements of the superior court on social media handles to inform the public of its decisions.

The Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, assured the public that the judiciary will continue to adopt technology in order to expand access to justice delivery.

He pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic showed the importance of technology, with the judiciary adopting many digital tools in order to serve public.

“Technology has afforded us an opportunity to cut cost, be more efficient, and avoid unnecessary delays in administering justice. For the first time in the history of the judiciary, this year, vacation courts in Accra, held virtual sittings. This meant that lawyers who were even abroad on vacation could participate remotely, of course, they had to be properly attired with good internet connectivity,” he added.

The Mamponghene, Dasebre Osei Bonsu, who represented Asantehene, pointed out that Covid-19 disrupted nearly every aspect of our individual and collective lives.

“Improving access to justice in a pandemic through technology challenges all of us to reflect on how we can use technology to ensure that justice delivery continues unabated, despite what we have been asked to think of as the new normal.”

By Benjamin Aidoo||Ghana