Page last updated at Thursday, December 12, 2013 17:17 PM //
The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Wood has charged stakeholders in the justice delivery system to offer appropriate suggestions and contributions to the draft Written Statement Rules before being pass into law.
She said the validation and subsequent adoption of the draft rules should pave the way for expeditious and transparent trial in civil litigation.
Mrs Justice Wood was speaking at the 12th Chief Justice’s forum in Accra to discuss and authenticate the proposed amendments to some sections of the CI 47 to ensure a more speedy and effective adjudicative system.
The forum which was attended by members of the Judiciary, Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and Law Faculties, among others, was on the theme: “Expeditious Justice Delivery: The Role of “Written Witness Statement”.
In April 2012, members of the Bench, Bar, Law Faculties and other stakeholders met to deliberate on the feasibility of incorporating Written Witness Statement and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) into the country’s trial process. The meeting was a prelude to the draft Written Statement Rules of the Rules of Court Committee.
Mrs Justice Wood also noted that in 2005, the High Court Rules 2004 (CI 47) came into force and replaced the then High Court Rules 1954LN 140A.
She said the current amendments of the CI 47 deals with pleadings and requirement of parties at the very least opportunity to annex copies of the documentary evidence in support of their case.
She stated that the changes also looked at case management by way of pre-trial review and the adduction and presentation of evidence in court.
Mrs Justice Wood further noted that it was only proper that the Rules of Court Committee solicit the views of stakeholders before submitting Written Statement Rules to parliament for passage into law.
Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Justice of the Supreme Court and Chairman for occasion noted that in order to move administration of justice forward the Rules of Court Committee came out with some draft proposal to amend portions of the court rules in terms of witness statement, pre-trials and pleadings.
He said a lot of time was spent at the courts taking witness statement, adding that, if these amendments were successful it would help in reducing the time spent at the courts drastically.
He said lawyers in litigation could file detailed statement but if it was not accompanied by the sworn affidavit it became null and void because it had not been verified by the sworn affidavit.
Justice Dotse also cautioned magistrate and judges to be circumspect especially when to grant a witness time to amplify his statement.
He said if at the time the statement was written the matter had not arisen the judge could use his discretion to do otherwise, however, if at the time the witness wrote his statement evidence was available he should not be given the chances to make oral statement.