The Chief Justice of Ghana, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, has urged members of the public to resist unlawful demands made by some staff of the Judicial Service while seeking legal services at the various courts. He made the call during the inauguration of a new courthouse in Wiamoase in the Sekyere South District of the Ashanti Region.
According to the Chief Justice, some staff of the Judicial Service have been harassing and extorting money from litigants who seek legal services at the courts. He admonished the staff to exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their duties and provide comfort and assistance to clients who are often physically and emotionally distressed when seeking justice.
In his address, the Chief Justice warned the staff against vices such as extortion and urged members of the public to report any judicial officer who engages in such acts for appropriate action to be taken. He described harassment, including the threat and extortion of money from court users, as a cruel way of treating people seeking justice.
“I urge the public to stand firm and refuse to yield to the unsanctioned demands of judicial officers and don’t be afraid to report such judicial officers for actions to be taken against them,” he said.
The Chief Justice also noted that the Judicial Council would not shield any officer found culpable of such acts, assuring the public that appropriate sanctions would be applied.
The inauguration of the courthouse in Wiamoase was also attended by the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Frema Opare. She expressed the belief that the new court would help enhance justice delivery in the area and urged court staff to provide quality and prompt services to litigants.
The call by the Chief Justice to resist unlawful demands from some staff of the Judicial Service is a welcome development in the quest to improve justice delivery in Ghana. It is disheartening to learn that some staff of the Judicial Service harass and extort money from litigants who are often seeking justice in difficult circumstances.
It is important that the staff of the Judicial Service understand the gravity of their actions and the impact it has on access to justice. Legal services must be accessible and affordable to all, without fear of being harassed or extorted.
The public must also take up the responsibility to report any judicial officer found to be engaging in such acts. This is necessary to ensure that the judicial system remains independent and impartial, and that the public has confidence in the administration of justice. The call by the Chief Justice to resist unlawful demands by some staff of the Judicial Service is a step in the right direction. It is important for all stakeholders to work together to improve access to justice in Ghana.