Welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing too the claims off duty bligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated & annoyances that accepted wise man therefore always holds indignation
Certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty bligations of business it will frequently occurs be repudiated & annoyances that accepted.
THE CHAIRMAN AND NEWLY SWORN-IN MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE LAW REFORM COMMISSION
HON. DEPUTY ATTORNEYS-GENERAL AND DEPUTY MINISTERS FOR JUSTICE,
THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL, THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS, DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE DRAFTING,
ACTING CHIEF DIRECTOR AND MANAGEMENT
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, FRIENDS OF THE MEDIA
It is with immeasurable joy that I swore into office the new Board of the Law Reform Commission. Even though the Law Reform Commission Act, 2011 (Act 822) simply provides for a lawyer of not less than 15 years standing as the Chair of the Governing Board with the other members being seven persons, five of whom are lawyers of not less than eight years standing as well as the Executive Director, the calibre of personnel appointed to serve on this Board, gives me the firm assurance that the process of law reform in Ghana will receive a big boost in the coming years.
The roll call shows renowned Justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana who came to the bench after distinguished careers in the practice of law, experienced private legal practitioners who have significantly contributed to the development of the law in Ghana as well as illustrious academics with verifiable record in the area of law reform. I am in no doubt that you will justify the trust of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. I congratulate you on your appointment.
Mr. Chairman, the mandate of your board is well cut out in Act
The Law Reform Commission has the singular and noble object of promoting law reform in Ghana. In order to achieve it, the Commission is required by section 4 of Act 822 to, among others, prepare and submit through the Minister for Justice, proposals for the examination of different aspects of the law, make practical recommendations for the development, simplification and modernisation of the law and obtain information on the legal systems of other countries that may facilitate the process of law reform in Ghana. I am strong in my conviction that, properly assisted, the functions of the Law Reform Commission of which you constitute the governing board, portend the capacity to positively aid in the socio-economic transformation of our Republic.
In my short tenure as Attorney-General so far, I have had opportunity to examine some fruits of the work of the Law Reform Commission. A Bill for the reform of the law on Occupier’s Liability which was initiated by the Commission, came to my attention recently. I have directed for same to be subiected to stakeholder engagements, as part of the process for legislative enactment. One important piece of legislation introduced to Parliament in the past year, which I believe will have far-reaching consequences for the criminal justice system, is an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act, 1960 (Act 30) to incorporate plea bargaining firmly into the trial of cases in Ghana. I am happy to note that the Board of the Law Reform Commission made a contribution to the development of this legislation. I am grateful.
I consider the plea bargaining legislation a significant innovation in the process of reform of the criminal justice system in Ghana, as it will have the ultimate practical result of easing congestion in our prisons and improving the efficiency of prosecution.
Mr. Chairman, whilst acknowledging the immense role of the Commission in law reform in Ghana, a criticism it has often attracted for itself is the tendency to, many a time, focus on the rather arcane or esoteric laws on our statute books for reform. In your deliberations, I would respectfully urge you to accord priority to legislations with immediate practical effect on the life of the Ghanaian as well as feasible solutions to improving law practice in the country. This suggestion does not constitute an attempt to give a ministerial directive to the Board. It is only a friendly request.
In this regard, it will be refreshing to receive proposals for a review of the current Criminal Procedure Act, Act 30, in a manner as to aid in a real expeditious determination of summary trials. I consider the tendency for a summary trial to stay in a trial court for upwards of four years as unhealthy and defeatist of the
constitutional imperative for a fair hearing within a reasonable time in article 19(1) of the Constitution. This Office is examining the possibility of amending Act 30 so as to virtually bar the possibility of persons utilising interlocutory appeals to frustrate the speedy resolution of criminal trials. We would be happy to receive the input of the Board on same.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot conclude my remarks without taking cognisance of the severe logistical constraints likely to be faced by your Board. Sad to say, the Commission, like many other institutions under the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice, is dogged by dreadful financial hardships. As I found out on my working visit to the offices of the Commission last month, the Commission had only one vehicle – a pick up truck which it acquired in 1996. I committed myself to address the challenges this Office is confronted with, and I am happy to note that we are making a headway. Pursuant to an urgent appeal for help I made to Cabinet, this Ministry recently acquired about 91 vehicles for all of its agencies and offices in the various regions.
Out of this, the Commission has received 2 to bring its fleet of vehicles to 3. It goes without saying that this is still inadequate.
Just yesterday, I observed that the Executive Director of the Commission has, further to my suggestion, presented a fresh budget for retooling and staff development of the Law Reform Commission. I pledge to ensure a satisfaction of same before the end of the year.
In my respectful view, the way to go with the Law Reform Commission is by undertaking what section 10 of Act 822 has prescribed for it, i.e. the setting up of the Law Reform Fund.
Section 10 of Act 822 provides for the establishment of a Fund to be managed by the Board and which will be used to undertake projects for the development and reform of laws, development of human resource in law reform and other purposes to be determined by the Board. I consider it a rather sad testament reflection to the commitment of the nation to law reform that the Law Reform Fund has to date, not been set up. I will work with your Board to ensure the immediate establishment of the Fund and the contribution of a significant amount by the Government as seed money. I trust the Board to also come up with innovative means of ensuring that sufficient contributions, donations and grants are made to the Fund, for a smooth discharge of the sublime obiects of the Commission.
I wish your Board a very fruitful term. The nation rests its hopes on you to ably spearhead an efficient process for law reform.
God bless us all!!