Justice Baffoe-Bonnie pushes for review of requirement for law magistrate practice in Ghana

A Supreme Court judge, Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie is advocating for amendment of the law prescribing the requirements to be met by lawyers who intend to practice as magistrates.

According to Justice Baffoe-Bonnie the current three years of practice at the bar requirement is making it difficult to get qualified lawyers to be appointed to the position.

Speaking during a courtesy call by the Attorney General to Justices of the Supreme Court, Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie who is also the chairman of the appointments committee of the judicial council said the amendment is important for justice delivery.

“We are finding it difficult to get membership for magistrates in court. We believe that if persons who have not gone to law school and have undertaken a two-year preparatory course for the career magistrate, we believe that some persons could be employed. For someone who has gone to law school and has trained for five years and is qualified as a lawyer, we could reduce the number at the bar to say one or two years, and then when they are employed they can serve as a career or lay magistrates.”

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In Ghana, the Career Magistrate Programme is a two-year programme for non-lawyers to be trained as Career Magistrates to occupy vacant positions in district courts.

The programme is for graduates with a minimum of three years of working experience usually sponsored by the government.

It is also in accordance with the Court Amendment Act, which requires that district courts are set up in each district to bring justice closer to the people.