The Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) has held its 39th Annual General Meeting (AGM) with the call on judges and magistrates to be mindful of their health in the conduct of their sacred duties.
The two-day meeting, held under the theme: ”Judges, our health”, was a place for participants to socialize and deliberate on issues affecting them.
Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo, the Chief Justice, said the meeting also provided them with the opportunity to reflect deeply on the quality of service that they deliver to the nation.
She said the theme for this year was carefully chosen as the health and well-being of judges was an extremely important matter because they were at the heart of the justice delivery system of any country.
She said the Constitution takes due cognizance of this and has made the inability to perform the functions of the judge’s office due to infirmity of body or mind a ground for the removal of the judge from the Bench.
She said judgeship was a demanding job, requiring the delicate balancing of competing interests, applying the facts to the evidence adduced and reaching a just conclusion according to law..
She said as our societies have become more complex, so have crimes and civil disputes increased and this had undoubtedly put a greater strain and stress on the demands of the job.
Justice Akkufo said, “The mere absence of sickness or disease is no indication of good health and a holistic view of wellness is necessary if we are to achieve the ends of this objective.”
Justice Senyo Dzamefe, President, AMJG, said the theme for this AGM was chosen based on some sad events that occurred in the year under review – the deaths of two sitting high court judges and three retired judges.
He said the Association was in discussions with management, through the Judicial Secretary to develop a medical software, dubbed Personal Medical Data for all judges across the country.
Justice Dzamefe said the software would control the pharmacy, outpatient department, laboratory and medical history of each judge which would be captured on their mobile phones, including dates of the next medical check-up.
He said the service has initiated a 21 unit four-bedroom bungalow project at Cantonments and acquired a 33 seater welfare bus.
Justice Dzamefe said some challenges encountered by judges include delayed payment of allowances, lack of vehicles for sitting judges, security of judges, delayed retirement benefits, lack of financial independence of the judiciary; and the dangers associated with working in dilapidated court building among others.