About Judicial Service
Ghana's legal system was built on a foundation of received Anglo-Saxon common law, statutory law, and other documents, such as those heralding the legal existence of various military regimes. In addition to this received and imposed law, there is an enduring body of largely unwritten customary usages and practices that still are a contextual feature of the modem legal system of Ghana.
The legal pluralism is evidenced by a co existence of indigenous customary laws and practice, which received Anglo-Saxon common law, and some religious law, especially in the areas of marriage and inheritance events of the past and more recent events have also shaped Ghana's legal system, and include the impact of British Colonialism, and more recently, its constitutional evolution, following independence.
The Stage was set for active British Administration of Ghana when, in 1859 and 1872, the Dutch transferred all their forts to the British and left Ghana. Ghana became one of the first territories, outside of England, to benefit from the English reforms brought about by the Judicature Acts of 1873-75 Structure of Court system.
Established by the Supreme Court Ordinance (1876) was Divisional and District Commissioners' courts established as lower tier of Supreme Court. Supreme Court remained highest tribunal in Ghana during colonial era and appeals from it lay to the West African Court of Appeals (WACA). WACA was first established in 1866, petered out in 1873, and was re-established in 1928. Ghana withdrew from WACA following independence.
There were few changes in court system, until, following first military coup in 1966, the National Liberation Council (N.L.C) passed a degree abolished the Supreme Court and vested judicial power in two sets of courts: the Superior Court of Judicature and the interior Courts. Constitution of Second Republic created a Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and High Court of Justice (as Superior Courts of Judicature) and same Inferior Courts were created by law.
In 1972, the Supreme Court was again abolished, this time by the National Redemption Council (N.R.C.), the military government that followed that of the Second Republic, reasoning that, with the suspension of the 1969 Constitution, there was no need for a court to interpret and enforce it. The functions of the Supreme Court were transferred to the full Bench of the Court of Appeal
The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (A.F.R.C.) handed over power to an elected government, the Third Republic, and the Supreme Court was re-established under the Third Republican Constitution. Following the same court structure provided for under the 1969 Constitution, there was a Superior Court consisting of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court.
Circuit courts were introduced in 1960 and have become a permanent rung in the ladder of courts. These, along with the District Courts, make up the Inferior Courts. read more...