Chief Justice (CJ) Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo has urged Magistrates to have an independent mind of their own to be able to determine cases fairly.

According to the CJ, as new magistrates, they are going to be receiving submissions from lawyers and litigants on opposite sides, therefore without an independent mind, they are likely to be swayed by litigants who are overbearing.

Justice Torkornoo who made this call during the swearing-in of some 23 new Magistrates in Accra on Monday, March 4, said being independent will ensure that they are not swayed by over-bearing litigants.

“As a judge, you are required to always remember the ethical values with which you are supposed to conduct your work,” Justice Torkornoo said.

“And we (Judges) speak not only working on truth or fairness but also working in propriety, working in independence and working in competence.

“Now talking about independence, you are going to be receiving submissions from lawyers on opposite sides and you are going to also receive the words of litigants on opposite sides.

“This means that, if you don’t have an independent mind on your own, you’re going to get swayed by someone that is overbearing, someone that is louder than others, someone who seems to attract your thinking or attract your attention,” the CJ cautioned.

Work of a judge

The CJ also reminded the Magistrates about the work of a judge saying, “the work of a judge is one that requires strong intellect and independent thinking.

“When we say that the law rests in the bosom of the judge, it means that the judge understands the law,” the CJ explained.

She added that, “the judge appreciates the intersectionality of law and is able to identify which part of law, whether it is procedure, whether it is the substantive rules of evidence or the rules of the transaction and the judge must understand which one makes the priority.”

Proper dress code

Justice Torkornoo also admonished the newly sworn-in Magistrates, to ensure their dress code is always on point when posted.

“This morning (Monday March 4) you’re seated here properly dressed in your black suit, in your wigs and in your gowns,” the CJ acknowledged.

“I hope that we will not receive a report that once you get posted to a place you begin to dress differently on a working morning, (Monday).”

“My hope is that we will not receive reports when you get posted to a place where you are conducting yourself in a way that is not proper,” the CJ urged.


Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, Deputy Attorney General and Minister for Justice who represented the Attorney General said they should be circumspect in the exercise of their judicial powers.

“Some of you have just exited the BAR (row of lawyers) to join the Bench (judges) which is a new environment with its own dynamics.

“In embracing this new challenge, I will admonish you to discharge your duties with diligence and integrity,” the Deputy AG stated.

“You want to discharge your duties without fear or favour, affection or ill-will but have in mind that your power is highly circumscribed and in the exercise of that judicial power you’ve being vested with, have in mind that you are the lower base of the judiciary and don’t behave like some judges elsewhere who may want to even question the basis of the Attorney-General in entering a Nolle Prosiqui,” the Deputy AG advised.

He recounted how such a process which was signed by a Deputy Attorney-General and was moved by a State Attorney was questioned by a Magistrate.

“A judge of the lower bench said he was not going to take it, and refer to that process as a letter and that process ought to have known that the Letter head of the Attorney-General is so disgusting,” he recounted.

“That’s the power that you have, don’t abuse the power. Respect your power and don’t veer into the powers of others.To accept this office of judiciary is a singular Honour,” he stated.

Impartial arbiter

Agbesi Kwadzo Dzakpasu, president of the Greater Accra Regional Bar Association representing the GBA president also urged them to act as impartial arbiter and not abuse their powers.

“You do have the onerous responsibility to protect individual liberties and fundamental human rights of citizens to act as an impartial arbiter in all disputes between citizens that will come before you, your new position comes with immense power and authority.

“Your obligation is to use this power and authority to serve and not to engage in the abuse of power, some of you will be posted to certain parts of the country where the District Court will be the only court where the lawyers will not appear there frequently,” the GBA Cautioned them.

New Magistrates

The newly sworn-in Magistrate which comprised of 12 males and 13 females are, Miss Anastacia Yaa Agyeiwaa Karimu, His Worship Bright Ajosagi Akoande, Miss Dromo Afarley Djarbeng, Miss Jeroma Tawiah Owusu, Ms. Claudia Naa Anorkai Akuokor Abbey, Mrs. Melissa Selorm Dadson, Ms. Georgette Carmel Lutterodt and Mrs. Josephine Valeen Akorfa Akpanya-Hlover.

The rest are Mr. Christian Mawusi, Mrs. Christabel Awo Tei Sasraku, H/W Stephen Tabiri, H/W Comfort Asamoah Sarpong, Miss Gloria Afua Kesewa Asamani, H/W Bitam Lari, H/W Juliana Millicent Ocran, Mr. Eric Kwarteng and Mr. Emmanuel Wiafe Adu.

Others are Mr. Jehoshaphat Achina Nyarko, Mr. Eugene Obeng-Ntim, Mr. Iddi Adama, Mrs. Olivia Acquah-Dadzie, Mr. George Wellington Arhin and Mr. Godson Etse Kumado.

The wearing-in was graced by President of the Association of Magistrates and Judges, Justice Henry Anthony Kwoffie, Justices of the Supreme Court, High Court, the Judicial Secretary among others.

Source: Ghana/ Inusah