The Attorney-General (AG), Godfred Yeboah Dame, has affirmed the constitutionality of the proposal to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court from the standard 15, echoing that it would enhance the efficiency of justice delivery.

His statement follows President Akufo-Addo’s request for the AG’s opinion on Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo’s plea for additional Supreme Court justices.

In her communication to the President, Chief Justice Torkornoo underscored the urgent need to expand the Supreme Court bench, citing the court’s workload and output as pivotal factors in serving the nation’s justice needs effectively.

She detailed the operational challenges of the Supreme Court of Ghana (SCOG), which currently sits three days a week on alternating weeks to manage its caseload.

The Chief Justice’s appeal has sparked criticism from various quarters, including the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

On Thursday, July 4, the NDC accused President Akufo-Addo and the Chief Justice of colluding to protect current government officials from accountability.

The opposition party alleged that the Judicial Council initially opposed moves to elevate five judges to the Supreme Court, only to be overridden through a covert manoeuvre by the Chief Justice and President.

In response, Attorney-General Dame, in his advisory to the President regarding the Chief Justice’s request, emphasised that the determination of the Supreme Court’s justices should align with the imperatives of justice administration and the operational needs of the court.

“Given the breadth of the multiplicity of jurisdictions of the Supreme Court, the request for the increase in the number of justices serving on the Supreme Court from the conventional fifteen (in addition to the Chief Justice) to twenty, is not only constitutional but would ensure speedy and effective justice, minimise delays and unnecessary expense and conduce to the general efficient administration of the Supreme Court,” he stated.

The Attorney-General also emphasised that the effective execution of the Supreme Court’s functions, as mandated by the constitution, may require concurrently constituted panels of the Supreme Court to convene.

“Understandably, the permutations in the constitution of the panels, almost simultaneously, could be daunting for effective and efficient work in the face of the limited number of Justices at the Supreme Court, as the Court is incessantly inundated with cases,” he added.

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