Speaker calls for double-track court system
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, has stated that one way to restore confidence in the administration of justice is to apply a double-track system in the district, circuit and high courts.
By that system, he said, “for the same number of courts, we will have ‘double attendance’ by using a morning judge (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and an afternoon judge (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.). The courtroom will be the same and the office will be the same. More court clerks will be employed. Cases will be more expeditious and the law’s delay which is damaging the image of the law will be curtailed.”
Speaking at the celebration of International Peace Day held at the auditorium of the School of Law, University of Ghana last Friday, Prof. Oquaye decried the escalation of impunity in the society and the tendency of some people to take the law into their own hands, attack even police officers and generally recourse to self-help measures.
“People are tragically increasing in the disregard of the law and the courts all because they say they do not have time to do “go-come, go-come” in court,” he stressed.
He also advocated that remedies should be found for undue adjournments and the ‘one-man’ lawyer practice which caused delays, saying “if a lawyer is not able to be present, let the case go on. “Go-come” should be a thing of the past in our courts.”
The Speaker eulogised the courts as the citadel of the nation’s civilisation.
He echoed: “Even your wife is your wife because the law says so. If the legal system collapses, we are back to the jungle.”
Guard against national chaos
Prof. Oquaye also expressed regret over recent developments in hate speech and apocalyptic prophecies of doom by some persons in the society which he observed could lead to mischief and national chaos.
He further advised that the country’s electoral laws should be sharpened so as to maintain the peace of elections.
He suggested the passage of an Electoral Offences Act to regulate the totality of elections so that there would be peace before, during and after elections.
“After the havoc of civil war in Kenya,” he said, “they passed a law in this connection, which has become a model in the Commonwealth.”
The Speaker of Parliament said Parliament was ready to cooperate with the National Peace Council and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help educate the public and pass appropriate laws.