The forum held for staff from the Eastern and Greater Accra Regions and the first for the officials is aimed at rebuilding the institution and to address pertinent issues that would lead to good, quality justice delivery for citizens who access the courts on a daily basis.
The theme: ?Integrity: The Key to Effective Justice Delivery? is to ensure that the faith people have in judges and magistrates is uphold.?
The Chief Justice, said forum was held for court officials who work with judges and magistrates and those who find themselves in the registries and the court rooms.
She however stated that when the talk about integrity in the justice service delivery is being mentioned, the undoubted implication is that the integrity of the various categories of court officials is critical and absolutely essential to the kind of justice Ghanaians obtain from the courts.
She said the engagement would be one of the series of engagements with court officials to draw their attention to the importance of integrity in their daily activities as the lead justice institution in the country.
Mrs Wood said there is the need to worry as corruption appears to pervade the corridors of national lives as the latest Afrobarometer survey has revealed that 85 per cent of judges and magistrates are one of the most corrupt officials in the country.
She said this perception of the people is very serious as it hurts the entire image of the institution and the members of the bench.
She said it is the responsibility of all to work to salvage the institutions image.
She said judicial corruption is the worst form of corruption since the unreliability of the judiciary undermines the rule of law, peace and stability and sustainable national development.
She noted that the judicial service is the lead and key institution for fighting corruption, crimes of every kind, impunity, restoring lost rights and liberties and it is a grave disappointment to the institution that should provide solace, comfort and hope to the citizens.
The Chief Justice reiterated that people rush to the courts for redress but some court officials rather heap untold hardships on them without mercy by extorting monies from these unfortunate people to worsen their plight.
Mrs Wood said the citizens of Ghana are currently demanding social responsibility from state officials in whose hands they entrust public office, adding that these petitions that are brought before management on daily basis is indicting mainly court staff, which do not speak well of the institution.
She said this is a wake-up call for all for all staff officials and challenged each one of them to confront their shortcomings and find constructive ways of making the necessary amends to restore public confidence in the judicial service.
She therefore appealed to the public to report officials who make unjustifiable demands on them or threaten their peace and safety in the law courts to the Complaints Units in the country, adding that the units have been opened in Accra, Ashanti, and Western Region.
Reverend Professor Seth Ayettey, Professor of Medicine Member of the Judicial Council said corruption is a huge storm that has sufficient power to destroy the country if much attention is not paid to it.
Prof Ayettey stated that the focus of the theme is on personal character which encompasses truthfulness and honesty since this is about what people expects of the Judicial Service.
He added that integrity influences and promote peace stability and trust in any society there by creating an enabling environment for fruitful conduct of business for development.
Prof Ayettey noted that those who serve in the courts without integrity would attract criminals as their friends and urged them to say no to corruption and serve the nation with integrity.
Mr Nene Amegatcher, President Ghana Bar Association also urged the officials to have integrity as their hallmark for all their service delivery, adding that if the act of corruption and perceptions are not checked it would have a long lasting legacy for future generations.