President Akufo-Addo says government, through the Ministry of Local Government and the District Assembly Common Fund, has commenced the construction of 90 courts with accompanying accommodation for judges across the country.
He said the initiative was to help address the problem of inadequate court infrastructure and that the structures were at advanced stages of completion.
Delivering his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Tuesday, after his reelection in 2020, the President said through the same medium, 20 townhouses and a guesthouse were being built to be used as permanent residences for Court of Appeal Judges based in Kumasi, who were mandated to handle cases in the northern part of the country.
He said with the coming into force of the Courts Regulation 2020, LI 2429, on December 16, 2020, the relevant sections of the Courts Act (Act 459) had been amended, and had led to an expansion of the jurisdiction of the lower courts.
“Indeed, prior to the amendment, the monetary values of cases that could be heard by the district and circuit courts were GH¢20,000.00 and GH¢50,000.00 respectively. Today, the district court’s jurisdiction over cases brought before it has been increased to GH¢500,000, whereas that of the circuit court has been increased to GH¢2 million.”
The President indicated that the increase in jurisdiction would ensure that more cases were heard in the District and Circuit Courts, thus easing the burden on the High Courts, saying: “All these measures will go a long way to enhance justice delivery in the country and help consolidate the rule of law.”
He noted that the judicial system had not been left out of the digitisation programme, and that the e-Justice and e-Case register initiatives, for example, were helping to ensure that the law kept pace with technology.
That would end the age-old “missing dockets phenomenon and endless litigations, which has plagued the efficient delivery of justice in the country for many, many years,” he said.