Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood
Ghana’s first female Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, has disclosed that she will retire from the Bench on 8th June, this year.
The formal disclosure of the time she finally exits has brought to an abrupt end weeks of speculation over her retirement, posing the question as to who takes over from her after nine years on the hot legal seat.
The CJ had initially dropped the hint during the church service marking the opening of the 59th Legal Year by the Judiciary last year.
However, Justice Wood reaffirmed her retirement on Friday when she witnessed her last ‘Justice for All’ programme at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison.
Expressing her gratitude to handlers of the programme for inviting her, Mrs Wood said, “It gives me an opportunity to say an official farewell to the ‘Justice for All’ programme, given that in about four weeks I’ll be retiring. Specifically on the 8th of June I will no longer be in service.
“I should state this because I read all sorts of things. Some even think I’m staying up until the end of the year; that’s not accurate. In four weeks three days, I would have served my country faithfully in public office for about 47 years and I have been involved with prisoners that long because I started as a police officer and a legal person who prosecuted in the circuit court and so on, before I joined the bench and have remained as such. So thank you very much for bringing me here.”
Mrs Wood worked with the Ghana Police Service as a Deputy Superintendent and public prosecutor for three years before joining the Judicial Service as a District Magistrate in 1974.
She rose through the circuit and the high courts to become a judge of the Court of Appeal in 1991. She was appointed to the Supreme Court by President John Agyekum Kufuor on 12 November, 2002 – an appointment she had earlier declined.
She was nominated for the position of Chief Justice in May 2007 and on 1st June, 2007, parliament approved her nomination by consensus, making her the first woman to head the Judiciary.
Since taking office, Mrs. Wood has sworn in three presidents – the late President John Evans Atta Mills in January 2009, then Vice President John Dramani Mahama upon the death of President Mills on 24 July, 2012 and president-elect the same John Dramani Mahama on 7th January, 2013.
She last swore into office on 7th January, 2017 Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
But the impending retirement of the CJ has left in its trail the search for her successor.
Many people in the legal fraternity have tipped Justices Mawulom Dotse and Anin-Yeboah as the probable candidates for the position.
Observers believe it could have been the turn of Justice William Atuguba, the most senior at the bench, but he is also due for retirement soon.
Although Justices Sophia A. B. Akuffo, who became Supreme Court Judge on November 30, 1995 and Mrs Sophia. O. Adinyira, who also joined the Supreme Court on March 15, 2006, are seniors to Justices Dotse and Anin-Yeboah, at the bench, they are not seen as possible replacements.
Dotse’s credentials may be dented following his ruling in the election petition where his sound judgement was truncated by his final ruling.
Justice Anin-Yeboah was appointed to the Supreme Court on June 11, 2008.
He is a lecturer in Civil Procedures at the Ghana School of Law.
As an ardent football fan, Justice Anin-Yeboah serves on the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee – an appointment that will last for four years.
Before his appointment, he had served on various judicial bodies in the Ghana Football Association (GFA), including the Disciplinary Committee and the Appeals Committee.
He also served on the Appeals Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Justice Victor Jones Mawulom Dotse was elevated to the Supreme Court on June 11, 2008.
Prior to being appointed a high court judge in June 2002, he had had a distinguished career at the Ghana Bar, spanning November 1978 when he was called to the Bar, up to 2002 when he was elevated to the Bench – a period of some 23 years at the Bar.
During this period, he had been a state attorney for three years, and worked for 20 years as a private legal practitioner.
Justice Dotse graduated from the University of Ghana, Legon, in June 1976 with an LL.B (Hons) Degree. In 1978, he was awarded a BL Certificate in Law from the Ghana School of Law and called to the Ghana Bar in November, 1978.
He has held many positions at the Bar, rising to become a Regional President of the Bar Association and member of the Legal Service Board from 2001 to 2002.
He has attended several courses in the United States, Canada and Nigeria.
He was in February 2008, appointed as Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of The Gambia.
Jones was born in June 1953 and hails from Kpando in the Volta Region of the Republic of Ghana. He is married with three daughters and is a Christian.
Justice Dotse has received training as an ADR practitioner from the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana in 1977.
Since 2005, he has been a member of the ADR Committee of the Judicial Service of Ghana and was Chairman of the said Committee from January 2009 up to July 31, 2009.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson