The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Mrs Gloria Afua Akuffo, on Wednesday, launched the legal and justice sector reforms dubbed ‘Knowledge Products’.
The reforms are targeted at improving the quality of legal service delivery as well as strengthen the institutions in the legal and justice sector with a focus on building the Criminal Justice institutions to improve internal efficiency.
Mrs Gloria Akuffo, the Minister of Justice, noted that it was requisite for all stakeholders in the legal and justice sector to provide support for any initiative in the sector aimed at improving the justice delivery system, as the absence of an efficient and effective justice sector could derail the
democratic efforts of the country.
She urged the heads of institutions and agencies to adopt the monitoring and evaluating systems in the new processes to ensure they were utilised for optimum advantage.
Presenting an overview of the entire process, Ms Sandra Thompson, the Head of Project Management Unit, said the Legal and Justice Sector Reform
Programme was an initiative by the Government and was intended to enhance Inter-Agency collaboration as a measure to improve justice delivery in Ghana.
She said the programme was necessitated as a dire measure to address the weakened functionality, structural and institutional capacity challenges inherent in the legal and justice sector that have caused inefficiencies and led to low public confidence, limited accessibility, reduced quality of services and delayed dispensation of justice especially for the vulnerable.
“This desire to improve the sector in a collaborative manner led to a UNDP-funded evidence-based survey to determine the perceptions of the sector that were held by the public and to provide information on the current levels of knowledge, experience and attitudes of the public to the justice sector in Ghana,” she said.
She said the survey identified the level of transparency and the speed of the processes and proceedings in the formal justice system as the significant issues in the sector.
Thus reforms proposed by respondents were aimed at improving access to quality of justice delivery in the formal and informal justice systems,” Ms Thompson said.
The Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department (MOJAGD) therefore partnered with the UNDP to develop these targeted reforms to improve the quality of legal service delivery, which process was preceded by intensive consultations of legal service and justice sector institutions.
The programme however, does not contemplate across-board reforms but rather implement targeted interventions to reinforce the key legal and justice institutions to improve functionality and capacity for quality service delivery.
The knowledge products of the legal service and justice sector reforms programme include Standard Operating Procedures, Training Plan, Mandates of the Criminal Justice Sector Institutions and a Change Management Strategy.
With MOJAGD as the coordinating agency, participating agencies responsible for implementing specific programme activities include the Police Service, the Prisons Service, the Judicial Service, and the Legislative Drafting Division.
Others are the Public Prosecutions Division, Economic and Organised Crime Office, Legal Aid Scheme and the Law Reform Commission.