supreme court
Supreme Court

Supreme Court justice nominee, Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie has disagreed with concerns that the Apex Court is packed.

According to him, the volume of work at the Supreme Court requires more hands to reduce the burden on the current justices.

“If you look at the 12 that we have now, they are actually two panels only; five, five. There are only two judges extra. If they are dealing with a constitutional matter, seven. So with the 12, we actually have only one panel – five more. So the 15 is clearly, as far as I am concerned, I don’t understand what is meant by packing. It is not packing. 

“As of now the three that you are talking about, they are retired, in fact four retired. So if you leave the three who are retired, you have to fill the vacancy otherwise the current crop of Supreme Court Judges very soon they will start falling off given the volume of work,” he said.

He made these comments during his vetting at the Appointment Committee of Parliament on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.

Justice Kwofie told the Committee that, about a week ago, during an interaction with a Supreme Court Judge, she mentioned on that particular day, she had to deal with about 29 cases for which she had to sit from 9: am to 4:30 pm. 

He clarified that each time the issue of the number of judges at the Supreme Court was raised, Ghanaians would always insist that the country takes a cue from the US. However, Ghana’s judicial landscape was different from the US.

“Every case that starts from the High Court now, about 90% end up at the Supreme Court because our system, we seem to have an open door policy,” he said.

On the back of this, he stressed that 15 judges at the Apex Court was not a high number.

On November 10, President Akufo-Addo named three Court of Appeal Justices to fill the vacancies on the Supreme Court bench, resulting from the mandatory retirement of three Justices earlier this year.

They are Justice Henry Kwofi, Yaw Asare Darko and Adjei Frimpong, who are all currently justices of the Court of Appeal.

Subsequently, the Minority in Parliament accused President Akufo-Addo of taking advantage of the constitution to pad the Supreme Court.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Friday, November 10, the South Dayi MP, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor expressed his dismay at the appointment since there were no vacancies at the Supreme Court to be filled.