The well-attended church service was organised by the General Council of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and attracted the leadership and members of the association and a number of prominent personalities from the judicial service, the business community, senior journalists, ministers of state, the clergy, family and friends of Justice Akuffo.It was a befitting homecoming and farewell for Justice Akuffo, as she returned to the Kaneshie Presby Church where she started as a young girl with her siblings when her late father, Reverend Frederick William K. Akuffo, was the Minister there from 1956 to 1960. It was also the same venue for her thanksgiving service when she assumed office as the CJ.
Initially, she smiled and acknowledged the joy of her guests who danced to the music that was sung during the praise and worship session, but she eventually lifted her hands and joined in the dance when a group, Young Chorale, rendered medleys.
13th Chief Justice
Justice Akuffo was called to the Ghana Bar on October 2, 1975 and rose to become the longest-serving justice of the Supreme Court, after being appointed by President Jerry John Rawlings on November 30, 1995.
She became the 13th Chief Justice of Ghana following her nomination by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on May 11, 2017. She was subsequently approved by Parliament and sworn in by the President on June 19, 2017.
She became the 13th Chief Justice of Ghana and the 24th CJ from the Gold Coast era.
A citation by the GBA outlined the achievements of the Chief Justice.
Key among them are her delivery of landmark judgments which helped to develop and expand the frontiers of the law and presiding over a number of celebrated cases.
As Chief Justice, she worked to strengthen the rule of law and the speedy delivery of justice by implementing the e-justice system and issued a practice direction in respect of the determination of bail and consequential matters in criminal cases.
She also spearheaded the recourse to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as an alternative to the adversarial system.
Justice Akuffo also served the Judiciary of Ghana and the African Union on a number of boards, commissions and committees which enabled the progress of the legal profession and provided long-standing contributions in advancing the scope of judicial and legal education institutions.
Being the only Chief Justice who has visited all court rooms in Ghana, she initiated the closure of dilapidated court structures to ensure that places of justice delivery in the country were dignified.
She is also praised for her strong advocacy with respect to upholding and maintaining standards, professional ethics, dignity and integrity in the legal profession.
“As a judge of over two decades, and presently the longest serving justice of the Supreme Court, you have served your country well,” a portion of the citation read.
In a sermon, the District Minister of the Tema North District of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Dr George O. Kwapong, praised Justice Akuffo for dedicating her life to serve her country.
He extolled her for her illustrious and dedicated service on the bench and said he was proud of her achievements.
After praising her as an intelligent, hardworking and peace-loving person, he said: “There are a lot of things that we will celebrate about you and we are proud of you,” he said.
Rev. Kwapong told persons who occupied positions in all aspects of the nation that no condition was permanent and that they should be humble and serve humanity “and remember that they will not remain in power forever as everything that has a beginning has an end”.
Justice Akuffo thanked God for seeing her through her tenure and a successful career.
She was full of praises for all the people she had the opportunity to associate with in various capacities, including her teachers and classmates.
She thanked her church, judges and staff of the Judicial Service for their support during her time in office.
“Becoming a lawyer was not something that I had planned to be,” she said, and continued that she decided to join the bar when the elder brother died shortly after he had been called to the English Bar in 1968 and her father did not want his (the elder brother’s) books to go waste.
"The Lord has seen me through each step of the way and I am grateful." she said.
She thanked the GBA for organising the service in her honour and said “even though our relationship has been bitter-sweet. without friction we cannot move. It is friction that allows us to move. From the sidelines, I will still be critical about standards. We must not let the standards drop, because if we do so, we are going to get rotten”.
The offertory from the service was presented to the Leppers Aid Committee and it was received by Rev. Andrew Campbell, the Parish Priest of the Christ the King Catholic Church.