The Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, has cautioned the public to desist from using gifts and other enticements to influence judges, magistrates and staff of the Judicial Service to tilt court cases in their favour.
He said such tendencies could only serve to undermine justice and the rule of law generally.
“Agreeably, the core function of the Judiciary is to adjudicate cases in the law courts. It is, therefore, wrong for people who have cases in the courts to get intermediaries who usually serve as a link between those who have cases in the courts and the judges, the magistrates, as well as the Judicial Service staff, to influence the adjudication of the case,” the Chief Justice said.
Justice Anin Yeboah gave the caution last Tuesday when he inaugurated the High Court at Somanya in the Yilo Krobo Municipality in the Eastern Region.
In attendance were the Yilo Krobo Paramount Queenmother, Nana Korlekuor Adjado III; divisional chiefs, the security services and members of the public.
“The judge and his staff are advised to eschew acts that are inimical to the promotion of justice without fear, favour, ill-will or affection in the interest of the nation,” the Chief Justice stated.
Justice Anin Yeboah stressed that to whom much was given, much was expected, and, therefore, it was incumbent for the Judiciary to serve the people of the community well based on the facilities available at the high court he inaugurated.
He, however, indicated that when necessary, out-of-court settlement of cases through the chiefs and community leaders rather than the courtroom trials were the best ways of settling cases as they helped to maintain better relationships.
He said negotiated settlements or compromises as known in law, particularly in districts, were inexpensive, time-saving and left little room for wrangling, headaches and bitterness as against the courtroom trials.
He noted that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) normally ended up winning situations and helped to build more cohesiveness within communities, adding that “this part of peaceful resolution is part of our tradition and is supported by provisions in the Courts Acts and our cultural norms”.
He said the Somanya High Court was among 100 courthouses and residential accommodations the President promised to build for the Judiciary and the Judicial Service to address the deplorable state of the courts in the country generally to effectively and efficiently serve the justice needs of the citizenry.
Justice Anin Yeboah advised staff of the Judicial Service and the public to ensure the facility was maintained to last longer.
The Chief Executive of the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly, Eric Tetteh, lauded the government for making funds available for the project through the District Assemblies Common Fund to promote service delivery of justice for all in the municipality and the neighbouring districts in the Krobo enclave.
He said the municipal assembly and the Judicial Service would draw a proper maintenance schedule to ensure that the facility would continue to be in good shape and function for the years ahead.
A former Member of Parliament (MP) for Yilo Krobo, Magnus Kofi Amoatey, who is also a lawyer, expressed the hope that the court would live to promote justice for ordinary citizens.