Ghana gets new Chief Justice; Justice Gertrude Torkornoo

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President Nana Akufo-Addo has nominated Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo a member of the supreme court as the new Chief Justice to replace Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah who retires from the bench next month

Justice Mrs Torkornoo if confirmed by parliament will become the third female Chief Justice in the history of Ghana, following the footsteps of Justices Georgina Theodora Wood and Sophia Akuffo.

The president in a letter to the chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Serebour, said Justice Gertrude Torkornoo who has been a member of the supreme court since 2019 and has been a member of the judiciary for the last nineteen years is qualified and fit to discharge the functions of Chief Justice.

Justice Gertrude Torkornoo Profile

Gertrude Torkornoo hails from Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana. She was born on 11 September 1962 in Cape Coast. She attended Wesley Girls’ High School where she obtained her ordinary level certificate and Achimota School for her advanced level certificate. She is an alumni of the University of Ghana and graduated from the Ghana School of Law in 1986. In 2001 she obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in International Law and Organization from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), part of Erasmus University in the Netherlands. In 2011, she graduated from the Golden Gate University, USA with an LLM in Intellectual Property Law. [3]

Career

Prior to joining Fugar & Co., a law firm in Accra as an associate, Justice Torkornoo worked as a volunteer at the FIDA Legal Aid Service and did an internship with Nabarro Nathanson in London. She returned to the firm (Fugar & Co.) in 1994 to become a director. In January 1997, she co-founded Sozo Law Consult where she worked as Managing Partner until 14 May 2004 when she was appointed a Justice of the High Court of Ghana.[4] She worked as a High Court judge until October 2012 when she was elevated to the Court of Appeal. Justice Torkornoo was nominated to the Supreme Court of Ghana in November 2019.[3] She was sworn into office on 17 December 2019.[

Leadership profile

Justice Torkornoo has held several leadership roles in the judicial service. In her work as chair of E-Justice Committee, she has led the planning of automation of all levels of courts, procurement and incorporation of the use of electronic resources and software in the work of the Judicial Service.

She has also served as the Supervising Judge of commercial courts since 2013 where she has set the agenda for and chaired the meetings and programs of the Users Committee of the Commercial Courts.

Justice Torkornoo presided over the implementation of the Business Environment Engineering Project (BEEP) funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom. Her leadership directions in that project ignited and provided the Ministry of Trade and Industry with guidance on the introduction of Users Committees into other institutions that participated in the BEEP project. The BEEP project further influenced the active development of the Business Environment Reforms being streamlined into national institutions by the MOTI.

She serves as chair of the Technical Working Group on ‘Enforcing Contracts’ set up to steer change in the business law environment. Outcomes of the work of the BEEP project within the Judiciary included the design of necessary reforms in the monitoring and evaluation of data collection currently being implemented by the Judiciary, the design of necessary reforms in the post-judgment and execution part of justice delivery, and reforms in stream lining of ADR in commercial justice delivery in Circuit and High Courts that led to the passage of High Court (Civil Procedure) Amendment Rules 2020, CI 133.

Justice Torkornoo has served as member of the faculty and Governing Board of the Judicial Training Institute, vice chair of the Internship and Clerkship Committee of the Judiciary since 2012, member and chair of the E-Judgment Committee since 2010, member and chair of the Publications and Editorial Committee of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana since 2006, and member and chair of various ad-hoc committees needed for the smooth administration of the work of the Judicial Service of Ghana.

Justice Torkornoo has served as judicial leader in the development and oversight of several reform projects of the Judiciary involving the European Union, USAID, DFID, collaborations with other African countries. She has also been a member of the Law Reform Commission since 2016.

She was part of the seven-member panel that heard the 2020 election petition by John Mahama against The Electoral Commission of Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo.

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