Approval of CJ needs to be 'tweaked' to make it debatable - Ace Ankomah

Ghana Politics

Politics / Ghana Politics 37 Views

A private legal practitioner is advocating for a review of the processes leading to the approval of a Chief Justice nominee to make room for a thorough discussion by parties involved.

Ace Kojo Annan Ankomah believes the factors that go into the appointment of the head of the third arm of government and the approval process needs tweaking if the country wants to be the ultimate beneficiary.

The outspoken lawyer told Samson Lardy Anyenini on the Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme, Newsfile Saturday, not all the questions posed to CJ nominee, Sophia Akufo Friday, was important.

“I had expected some debate on her stern judicial opinion, structures between structural and procedural law," the legal practitioner registered his disappointment.

Parliament’s Appointments Committee vetted Justice Sophia Akuffo for six long hours as the country’s next Chief Justice. She will replace Justice Georgina Theodora Wood who retired from the office this month if successfully approved by Parliament's plenary.

The Supreme Court judge was quizzed on a broad range of issues bordering on legal education, some rulings given by the Supreme Court and the independence of the judiciary.

The Harvard-trained lawyer mounted a strong defense against suggestions that the Ghana School of Law has become moribund that need to be scrapped. 

“What happens in the universities at the faculties of law is that they educate people academically on the law [but] the Ghana School of Law is a professional training facility and that is where the theories learnt in classrooms are supposed to be taught from a more practical point of view,” Justice Akuffo said.

She also advanced an uncompromising against mob justice that is on the increase in the country. She was forthright a quality justice system will inject some modicum of confidence in the people to desist from taking the law into their own hands.

Justice Akuffo also described as "distasteful" the practice of legal practitioners advertising their works on social media.

Some legal practitioners have been displeased with the line and quality of questions posed to the incoming Chief Justice by some lawmakers who were part of the 30-member strong Committee.

While some were impressed with some of her answers, she has equally been criticised for refusing to answer questions, some of which were before the Supreme Court.

But Mr Ankomah believes that time has come for the appointment and approval processes of a Chief Justice to be reviewed.

On his part, Vice President of IMANI-Ghana, Kofi Bentil said the vetting process is not the right place for issues to be explored thoroughly by both the lawmakers and CJ nominee.

“That forum where you talk or ask questions of the CJ should be a place where you interrogate their philosophy and their jurisprudential slant,” he said.

Mr Bentil said in the United States, every judge at supreme court is known for his "jurisprudential slant" that decides the direction certain issues will take especially abortion right.

He, however, said he would have been happy to pick the thought of Justice Akuffo on the structures between "structural and procedural law."

“It’s a big issue for me and a big debate in law school…” he said.