JUDICIAL SERVICE OF GHANA/ LAP-2
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2012
The Judicial Service of Ghana is an implementing agency under Lap-2. The overall objective of the collaboration is to enhance the adjudication of land cases in Ghana.
The Phase-2 of implementation of activities of the Judicial Service under LAP aims to:
expand the innovative specialised Land Courts to other Regions through refurbishment and automation of three (3) selected High Courts
provide equipment for essential departments,
build the capacity of both Judges and Staff in through training,
digitise land records,
publish a specialised report of land cases
Mainstream Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms in the Land Courts.
This report focuses on the implementation of agreed activities under the 2012 AWP with the LAP-2, achievements, challenges and a recommendation on the way forward.
2.0 AGREED UPON ACTIONS FOR 2012
In the 2012 implementation period, the Service proposed to undertake the following activities:
1. Train one hundred (100) Superior Court Judges and Circuit Court Judges in
i. Survey map reading
ii Locus In Qou
2. Train 30 Judges of Land Courts in ICT
3. Train 60 Staff of the Land Courts in ICT
4. Build the capacity of One Staff in best practice project management
5. Procure ten(10) laptop computers for Judges in ten selected Circuit Courts refurbished for adjudicating land cases
6. Procure equipment for eight (8) Land Courts in Accra to replace equipment procured under Lap Phase-1
7. Procure equipment and stationery for the institutional strengthening of essential departments
8. Train thirty (30) surveyors to be attached to the Land Courts as mediators to mediate simple land cases.
9. Install software and train staff within the three selected regions to improve the storage and retrieval of traditional cases
10. Print one-hundred additional copies of the training manual for traditional authorities
11. Commence the procurement of a consultant for the refurbishment activities of the courtroom, chambers and offices in the other selected Regions
12. Organise one (1) stakeholder’s conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution on the Land Courts.
3.0 IMPLEMENTED ACTIVITIES FOR 2012
In the year under review, the Judicial Service implemented the following activities out of the agreed upon actions:
3.1 Stakeholders Conference on Written Witness Statement and the Incorporation of Alternative Dispute Mechanism into Court Adjudication Processes.
The main activity in the work plan was to engage stakeholders to discuss the incorporation of ADR into the processes at the Land Courts. However, this activity was expanded by Her Ladyship the Chief Justice to include a discussion on written witness statement.
This stakeholder’s conference was held on 20th April 2012 with the backdrop that delays in the adjudication of land cases negatively impacted the country’s economic growth since land meant for investments are unduly locked up in litigation.
The Conference was attended by 67 participants (39 Males, 28 Females) comprising Judges, Lawyers, LAP-2 Project Coordinating Officials, Civil Society, Lands Commission, Ghana Bar, Attorney General’s Department and Traditional Authorities.
The programme took the form of presentations, speeches and plenary sessions to discuss into detail, the following:
1.Challenges associated with the Court Connected ADR in the Commercial Court, whether Pre-Trial Settlement at the Commercial Court is extended to all civil cases in court, the procedures and timelines recommended for the CCADR practice. These group discussions were to derive the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the current CCADR practice in the Judicial Service.
2.Whether Witness Statement and / or affidavits be routinely used in trials of actions and which documents should be filed, what stage they must be filed, and if witness summaries be used. These group discussions were to identify the benefits or otherwise of the introduction of written witness statement.
3.The procedural and practice bottlenecks that confront the trial judge and which delay the trial processes,recommendations to address these bottlenecks and the role of Registrars and Court Officials in determining cases. These group discussions were to highlight the challenges in the adjudication process and the hindrance to effective judicial administration.
At the end of these discussions, a communiqué was developed.
As a consequence of this activity, a team of Judges from the High Courts led by a Court of Appeal Judge was set up to develop a Pre-Trial Manual for the Land Courts. The Manual has received approval from the Honourable Chief Justice and have been forwarded to the Rules of Court Committee of the Judicial Council for consideration and approval for use.
3.2 Training of Mediators for the Land Courts
The Judicial Service of Ghana commenced the selection of Mediators to be trained and attached to the Land Courts to mediate simple land cases commenced in May 2012. Thirty (30) individuals comprising a total of 26 males and 4 females from the Ghana Institute of Surveyors were trained.
These Mediators are awaiting approval by the Honourable Chief Justice to commence sitting at the Land Courts. It is envisaged that these Mediators will commence adjudication in the first quarter of 2013.
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