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Technology is key to access to justice – Chief Justice

The Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Anin Yeboah has highlighted the importance of technology and its benefits, in particular the e-justice system, to the administration of justice in Ghana.

 

                                                                                         

                                                                                                 His Lordship Justice Anin Yeboah, Chief Justice of the
                                                                                                      Republic of Ghana delivering his address



 

“The impact of technology on our justice delivery system in Ghana is further evidenced by the Judicial Service’s e-Justice system. This system has, for instance,
made it possible for court 
users to file processes and make payments, without the need of coming to the court premises. In some instances, lawyers even receive
emails about adjournments. The system has also 
made it possible for relevant administrative persons to allocate cases to judges, track the progress of cases,
store electronic copies of case dockets, and generate important statistics, among other things.



                                          
                                                                                                       A section of participants


The modest achievements I have described portend the heights that a well-resourced and technologically inclined Judiciary can reach. The lessons from
the piloting of these interventions would, 
by all means, inform how the system would be ameliorated, and hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, these would
be permanent features of the judicial system we can deploy in all courts across the country.”




The Chief Justice made these observations during the 2022 Chief Justice’s Forum held in Kumasi, on the theme: ‘’Improving Access to Justice In a Pandemic through the Use of Technology.

Speaking at the Forum, His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, who was the Special Guest of Honour, in a speech read on his behalf
by the Mamponghene, Daasebre Osei Bonsu II
noted that the Covid-19 disrupted nearly every aspect of human existence and stressed that the theme for the
Forum challenged participants 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.”

                                                                                  
                                                                                                       Daasebre Osei Bonsu II, Mamponghene delivering his address on
                                                                                            behalf of His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II


Daasebre Osei Bonsu further tasked the key players in the administration of justice to consider ways in which they could continue “to integrate ICT tools
and processes into the justice delivery 
system so we can reap the benefits of speed and efficiency they bring’’ and turn it into an advantage for the more remote
and poorer areas in the country, rather than widening the digital divide.

 

Challenges

                                                                                     

                                                                               Mr. Yaw Acheampong Boafo, National President, Ghana Bar Association

 

The National President of the Ghana Bar Association, Mr. Yaw Acheampong Boafo in his remarks noted that “Despite the benefits of digitization and technology in
improving access to justice in Ghana
, there are known challenges: These include but not limited to inadequate digital infrastructure, connectivity gaps and the
cost of access to the internet which appears to be high and thus beyond the means of the average Ghanaian.



                                            
                                                                                                Participants engaged in group discussions


Another barrier to accessible Justice has to do with how the public access and use judgments and decisions from our Courts- especially the Superior Courts.

He thus suggested to the Supreme Court the setting up of social media handles to educate the general public on topical issues.

                                            
                                                                                                 Group leaders addressing participants after discussion

                                                                               

“It is proposed for the superior courts-especially the supreme court to consider setting up and maintaining social media accounts-especially on Twitter,
LinkedIn and Facebook-where some selected 
public interest decisions of the court would be posted, summarized and explained in plain non-legal language
to the public for them to understand the decisions, their significance and how they affec
t their businesses, livelihoods, marriages, security and aspirations,” he said.

 

 Background

The event brought together stakeholders from the many different institutions in the justice delivery value chain – the Judiciary, in both its judicial and
administrative capacities; the House of Chiefs; 
local authorities; the security services; Non-Governmental Organizations, the Ghana Bar, academia, commerce and
industry, faith-based organizations and ordinary citizens to discuss the state of 
justice delivery and explore the improvements and interventions which are necessary to make it efficient.

The forum is also a way for the Judicial Service to provide information about its activities to the general public to foster greater understanding of its processes
and institutions. This improves 
transparency and trust from the general public, which is vital for both the Judiciary and the public. The forum also allows the Service to
receive feedback from the public to inspire reforms or 
at the very least, secure responses to remove misconceptions.

 

JUDICIAL SERVICE OF GHANA

P.O. Box GP 119, Accra

Tel: (+233) 0302-663951, 663954, 666671

LAW COURT COMPLEX ACCRA

Tel: (+233) 0302-748100, 748101, 748102

 

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