Ms Sophia A. B. Akuffo, the outgoing Chief Justice, has stressed the need to maintain the high standards in legal education in the country.
Ms Akuffo said: “standardisation makes life easy and same also minimises corruption. When you establish standards, you let people know what to expect. It would be no good to lower standards.”
Ms Akuffo, who is the 13th Chief Justice of the Republic, said this at a valedictory ceremony held in her honour at the Supreme Court in Accra.
The ceremony attracted past and present Supreme Court Justices, representatives of the Otumfuor Osei Tutu, Family members, and members of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana.
Present also were Dr. Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the Internationl Central Gospel Church and his wife, veteran Journalist Elizabeth Ohene, the members of the Ghana Bar Association, Ms Yvonne Attakorah-Obuobisah, Director of Public Prosecution among others.
Ms Akuffo said the country needed to be serious about legal education adding ‘’we do not want to end up producing lawyers who will do more harm than good.”
The outgoing chief Justice observed that Ghana has the best constitution in the world and charged her colleagues at the bench to protect it with their judicial functions.
“The Constitution was configured because of its peculiar history. Let us uphold and protect it with our functions. Our functions arise from the power given us by the constitution.”
Ms Akuffo advised lawyers to do away with the practice of walking along the streets in their full robes.
She paid glowing tribute to former President Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufour, the late John Atta Mills, John Mahama, for their various support offered to her during her tenure at the bench.
She said late former President Atta-Mills lectured and nurtured her during her legal education
She noted that former President Rawlings, out of the blue nominated her in 1995 to the High Court, while former President Kufuor sent her to the African Court of Human and people’s Right in 2006.
According to her, President Mahama ensured that Ghana provided immense assistance to the African Court on Human and People’s rights.
In the case of the Otumfuor Osei Tutu, the outgoing Chief Justice said that he provided her with good counselling in times of need.
To Dr Mensah Otabil, the 13th Chief Justice commended him for offering her deep life teachings and counselling.
Mr Justice Victor Jones M. Dotse, a Supreme Court Judge, on behalf of his colleague at the bench said Ms Akuffo was the first Chief Justice who visited all the courts in the country and closed down all dilapidated courts.
Mr Justice Dotse said the outgoing Chief Justice would be remembered for introducing E-Justice as part of legal reforms noting that she had left an indelible mark in the Judiciary.
According to him, Ms Akuffo also introduced welfare policies for JUSAG and ensure that salaries and service conditions of lower courts were addressed.
Ms Gloria Akuffo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, said the outgoing Chief Justice who is her niece, brought institutional memory as she chaired the General Legal Council and other bodies.
Mr Tony Forson Junior, President of the Ghana Bar Association said the association would remember the 13th Chief Justice for serving her country well and “we would not forget her motherly love and excellent judgements.”
Ms Akuffo was called to the bar 1975 and she is the 13th Chief Justice of the Republic. She will be retiring on December 20, 2019