Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo has called for an increased budgetary allocation to the judiciary to make it independent.
She said: "there is even more need to take the bull by the horns because it is clear that financial independence of the Judicial Service and the Judiciary is sine qua non for effective justice delivery."
"The level of financial support for our work ought to increase exponentially not only in quantum but also in scope. If the financial independence of the judiciary is conferred and demanded by the 1992 Constitution, why is the Judicial Service of Ghana and the Judiciary subjected all such great constraint in its financial administration?
Speaking the at the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) two-day annual general meeting in Accra, Justice Torkornoo said that the Judiciary needed to be much better resourced than it had been.
Chief Justice Torkornoo noted that while some institutions have had over 100 per cent increment their budgetary allocation, the judiciary only had a little above three per cent increment
How can we be an independent arm of government when we have no control over our finances? She quizzed
Speaking on the theme: "A financially Independent and Accountable Judiciary: the key to effective Justice delivery," the Chief Justice said the judiciary as an institution needed to become more assertive with regards to the issue of financial independence
Justice Torkornoo recounted that she had requested data on the state of use of technology in all the 435 courts in the country as of August 2022, and the results of same were "not pretty."
According to her, some courts were conducting core business of recording proceedings manually adding a low per cent of courts is using automation in their work.
"This situation, undoubtedly, has a profound effect on our ability to deliver our work efficiently and effectively and must be tackled strongly.
She said the conversation on financial strengthening should not only be taken to the Executive but also to Parliament.
Chief Justice Torkornoo noted that when it came to the administration of justice, a lot of stakeholders such the Police, Prosecutors, valuers, surveyors, auctioneers were involved.
However, "when it comes to blames and delays, judges were identified in the whispers and rumors around the reason for the delay."
She noted that protracted delays placed an immense burden on parties and same created undue level of stress for partieslawyers and judges.
According to her, on August 12023, she directed that Registrars of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court not to allocate dates to cases as they reviewed all pending cases to ensure that they were fixed for hearing only when they were properly ready to be heard.
She said under her administration, she would address data that reflected imbalances and distortions in cases before the courts
Chief Justice Torkornoo noted that there were instances where a district court had only 36 cases while another similar court had over1, 300 cases.
According to her, the situation put a lot of burden on the said hard working judge.
She said judges would be called on to share their thoughts on how those imbalances could be addressed.
Mr Samuel Afortey Otu, President of Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), proposed for an increase in the retention of the non-revenue from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.
"This will increase the Internally Generated Fund (IGF) of the Judiciary and enable us to internally settle the arrears of the allowances due judges, Magistrates and Staff of the Judicial Service.
The President of JUSAG called for enhancement of salaries and welfare packages of staff and Judges.
Twenty retirees were presented with some packages.