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Napo misses the point


Chief Justice

Chief Justice

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, aka Napo, is suggesting to Parliament to critically examine the efficiency of judges nominated for appointment to the Supreme Court (SC).

According to him, unlike Ministers of State, whose portfolios could be changed, the Supreme Court justices, once appointed, would serve until they reach their retirement age of 70 years, as stipulated by the constitution.

By virtue of this, he demanded that a proper search be conducted into the professional backgrounds of the nominated judges, to ensure that only the qualified ones are sent to the Supreme Court.

He, for example, noted that if a nominee to the Supreme Court had administered about 105 judgements at the lower courts, out of which 104 were overturned on appeal, then such a judge, according to him, does not merit appointment to the highest court of the land.

The Chronicle partially agrees with Dr. Mathew Prempeh, because the SC is the apex of all the courts in the country, and therefore, irreparable damage would have been caused to a person, when a bad judgement is handed down against him or her. Therefore, to suggest that a thorough search should be done into the professional background of any SC nominee was not a bad idea.

The Chronicle, however, thinks that Dr. Prempeh, who is a physician, rather missed the point in his argument. He should have consulted his colleague parliamentarians who are lawyers to brief him about the procedures for the nomination and promotion of judges in the country.

The Chronicle is aware that from time to time, all judgments given by the various categories of judges are filed with the office of the Chief Justice (CJ). For a judge to be promoted from a circuit court to a high court, and then to the Court of Appeal, the CJ and the appointing authorities critically scrutinise these past judgments to ascertain whether the judge in question merits the promotion or not.

As a result of this procedure, it impossible for a judge, who has had most of his or her judgments overturned on appeal, to even get promotion to the Court of Appeal, let alone the Supreme Court. Dr. Prempeh certainly had good intentions behind his proposal, but as we noted earlier, he clearly missed the point.

Even if the CJ makes a mistake, and suggests a judge who has question marks surrounding his or her judgments for promotion, there is no way the Judicial Council would accept such a nomination. For us at The Chronicle, however, we think the suggestion from the MP should send signals to the SC judges that the public expects the utmost performance from them.

Source: modernghana

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