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The Majority Leader, Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, has insisted the Chief Justice’s call for the judges at the Supreme Court to be increased to 20 is in the right direction.

This follows comments from a section of the public expressing opposing views over the decision to increase the number of judges at the country’s apex court.

Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkonoo, has recommended some five judges to the President to consider for appointment to the highest court of the land.

This, she said, was due to the piling up of cases at the court which requires the services of lawyers to cater for them. Currently, the Supreme Court is made up of 15 judges, meaning the approval of the five nominees will shoot the number up to 20.

Many have issued concerns indicating the size of the number, with some making comparison with the United States whose Supreme Court has less than 10 judges. Others have also said it is not within the remit of the CJ to unilaterally suggest appointments for the Supreme Court to the President.

But reacting to the issue at a press conference in Accra Monday, July 08, 2024, Mr. Afenyo-Markin explained that unlike the United States, individuals have unrestricted access to file their cases at the Supreme Court in Ghana, making the request to increase the number of judges legit.

The Effutu MP has been explaining why it is unconscionable to compare the US scenario to that of Ghana looking at the disparity in how the two judicial systems operate.

“The primary objection to the recent recommendation for appointment to the Supreme Court is on the back of a certain justification that, even judges in the Supreme Court of the United States (US) with their larger population are not up to ten(10) and for that matter, any such recommendation is an attempt to “load” the apex court of our land.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to state that, unlike the US Supreme Court, in Ghana, a litigant has unfettered rights and access to the Supreme court. It is also important to underscore the fact that, an appeal to the Supreme Court operates as of right which is provided for under Article 131 (1) (a) of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana except matters of Parliamentary Elections dispute settled by the Court of Appeal. This was settled by the Supreme Court in the case of Sumaila Biebel v Adamu Dramani Sakande,” the lawmaker said at his press statement.

“What must also be noted however, according to the Majority Leader is that, “the jurisdiction of Ghana’s Supreme Court incorporates other jurisdictions such as (A) Original jurisdiction as provided for under Article 130 of the constitution of Ghana, (B) Enforcement Jurisdiction,(C) Review Jurisdiction as  provided for under Article 133 (1) of the constitution of Ghana as well as Appellate jurisdiction as provided for under Article 131 of the constitution, (D) Supervisory jurisdiction as provided for under Article 132 of the constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”

“Therefore, the attempt to create an unrelated comparison of Ghana’s judicial system to other jurisdictions such as the United States and others is a recipe for an absurd conclusion. It is worth noting that, the US Supreme Court has discretion to decide which cases to hear, and there are specific thresholds a case must meet before it is considered,” he added.

“Ghana’s Supreme Court receives not less than 700 cases in a year. What must catch people’s attention is that, unlike the US, where the Supreme Court exercises discretion to hear some of the cases it receives provided they meet a certain threshold. Ghana’s Supreme Court is required by law to hear every single case brought before it without any consideration,” the Majority Leader explained further.

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