Ghana’s laws will need to be amended to allow for the input of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), the General Legal Council, and the Judicial Council in the selection of a Chief Justice for the country, Nana Obiri Boahen, the Deputy General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), has suggested.
Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood will be stepping down on June 8, 2017, having attained the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Justices Jones Dotse, Anin-Yeboah, and Sophia Akuffo have emerged as frontrunners to replace Ms Wood.
The President names a successor in consultation with the Council of State and is then vetted by parliament before his appointment is confirmed.
But the NPP executive has said an amendment of the constitution in the appointment of a Chief Justice or the promotion of a justice to a higher court would be necessary, arguing that the “consensus” of the country’s finest legal brains who work daily with these judges and can attest to their competencies, would be vital in the selection of the ideal candidate.
He said such groups were “very formidable” given the quality of brains in Ghana’s bar and bench and was certain their “input” would go a long way to arrive at the most suitable candidate as the country’s foremost judge.
“In the case of the Chief Justice, for example… if you were to ask for my opinion for an amendment, I would urge that the president nominate two or three [judges], then he presents the two or three to the General Legal Council, Ghana Bar Association, and the Judicial Council. Then they all meet and deliberate…and then two are shortlisted and then their names are presented to the President so he picks one,” he told show host Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom, Accra100.5FM’s breakfast show on Thursday May 11.
Mr Boahen also recommended that practising lawyers who apply to join the bench, once their requests have been consented to by their regional Ghana Bar Association (GBA) executives as “tried and tested”, be approved “irrespective of that person’s political inclination”.