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Two (2) Of President’s Nominees To The Supreme Court Vetted

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The Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday vetted two of the President’s nominees, a Law Lecturer, Prof. Ashie Kotey, and Appeal Court Samuel Marful-Sau,  for the position of Justices of the Supreme Court.
The President on July 3 wrote to parliament to announce the nominations to the Supreme Court bench.

Samuel Marful-Sau, a Law Lecturer,

Appearing before the committee, Prof Nii Ashie Kotey believes not all cases emanating from lower courts must travel the entire legal distance and has therefore suggested that a law to limit the number of cases the highest court can preside over.
By the country’s legal processes cases heard at the smaller courts and at the high courts can travel through the court of appeal, Supreme Court as well as review before they can be deemed to have been concluded.
Prof Kotey wants some form of mechanism that allows the Supreme Court to first decide whether a case merits its attention before hearing it.
Prof Ashie Kotey told the committee that taking the pressure off relieving the apex court is important.
Committee’s Chairperson, Joseph Osei-Owusu and Ranking member Harruna Iddrisu. /Photograph by Enoch Norvor

“There must be an end to litigation. It is in the interest of the republic. For instance, if a person goes to the High Court, loses, appeals to the Court of Appeal, loses, I think unless there is a very huge principle of law which requires that the Supreme Court should look at it or there is some public interest justification,…the person must convince the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court why the matter should be appealed further,” he said.
While his proposal will not entirely take away the right of the applicant to exhaust all the processes available, Prof Kotey said two bites of the cherry by any applicant should be enough if the same result is recorded.
Prof. Kotey expressed concern about the lagging cases in the country’s highest court, which is the cause of, among other things, the extensive nature of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.
“Our supreme court has a very extensive jurisdiction from the original jurisdiction for the enforcement and interpretation of the constitution……We need to carefully examine whether the jurisdiction is too extensive and whether there are ways by which we could work on that because, as I understand it, the court is quite overworked, the delays are quite long,” he said.
Adding, “There are a number of things that one could do. If we take the original jurisdiction to interpret and enforce the constitution, there are some who think that the court is being inundated with a lot of constitutional cases and this is leading to the delay and some have argued that this is affecting the work of the court….. It may be that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is too extensive, and that, we should begin to think about reducing the load”.
Prof. Ashie Kotey/ Photograph by Enoch Norvor

He argued that though the Supreme Court has decided that all constitutional matters be referred to them, it will be prudent if specific cases which can be handled by the high and appeal courts are sorted out and referred to them accordingly.
“Present Supreme Court has by and large taken the decision that any matter of constitutionality is a matter for the Supreme Court and the matter should commence at the Supreme Court or where it arises in litigation, pending the litigation, must be stopped and the constitutional issue referred to the Supreme Court. It may be that for purposes of clarity and certainty, the Supreme Court thinks that all these matters should be dealt with in the Supreme Court. But on the other hand, there is a growing feeling that too many cases which in the view of some could be dealt with in the high court are starting in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court is being inundated because we lawyers can constitutionalise every issue”.
“Is there a need to regulate the access to, and exercise of the jurisdiction? If so, how do we go about it? By legislation, they sought to regulate and give the court power to determine what cases should be heard and picked. Is that something that we want to think about or do we do it through the court itself? It is in the interest of the republic that litigation must come to an end,” he noted.
Samuel Marful-Sau/Photograph by Enoch Norvor

Background
The President on July 3 wrote to parliament to announce the nominations unto the Supreme Court bench. Four nominations were made. The first two; Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey and Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau were vetted by the committee Thursday, August 23. The other two; Justice Agnes Mercy Abla Dordzie and Nene A.O. Amegatcher will take their turns before the committee Friday.
Photograph by Enoch Norvor

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