Mr Godwin Djokoto, a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, on Thursday called on the judiciary to uphold and give effect to agreements that are entered into by parties to a transaction.
He said the courts must not be seen to be making new contracts for the parties in court except otherwise stated.
Mr Djokoto was speaking at a forum to discuss legal developments on the law of interest rates and contemporary policy on interest rates in Accra.
The forum which was on the theme: “Developments in Legislature, Jurisprudence and Public Policy on Interest rates”, was organised by the Users Committee of the Commercial Court to engage key operators in the financial services sector to consider critical issues regarding the law and policies on interest rates.
Mr Djokoto, who made a presentation on:”Legislative trajectories and judicial decisions on interest: Contemporary history and realities”, said the courts had the power to award interests to a person even if the person had not asked for it.
He said the time span for computing the interest on an amount should be an exercise of judiciary discretion which should consider the period that the computation was done.
He said accordingly where the interest on a judgment was in a particular foreign currency, the court had to go back to the original contract and award the interest based on the currency which was in issue.
Mr Djokoto said interest paid by a borrower for late payment was treated as award of damages for the breach of the contract adding that the principal legislation on interest was C.I. 52 which he said had come to resolve some of the thorny issues in the system.
Mr Andrew Boye-Doe, Secretary, Bank of Ghana (BoG) who made a presentation on: “Ghana Financial Market: Policy directions in the setting of interest rates: Contemporary history and realities”, said since the enactment of Act 612, in 2002 the bank had undertaken a number of reforms to ensure a strong legal regime.
He said the BoG apart from being the regulator of the banking system in the country had initiated policies to ensure transparency and accountability at all levels of its operations.
He said current policy objectives of the BoG are to ensure price stability by using the various monetary tools.
Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, President of the Commercial Court, said the introduction of the court which is a Special Division of the High Court, is to expedite cases and ensure investment promotion for the country.
She said to ensure efficiency, the court is allowed to operate as a semi-autonomous body under the supervision of the Chief Justice adding that the Users Committee of the Commercial Court acts as a bridge between the users and judges.