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Ghana Judiciary told to prepare to deal with disputes arising from Maritime activities

Professor Samuel Kofi Darte-Bah, a Retired Supreme Court Judge, has appealed to the judiciary to prepare itself to deal with disputes arising from increased maritime activities.

He noted that it was also important that the legal profession mastered the intricacies of maritime law to facilitate the smooth regulation of navigation on seas and other navigable water bodies.

He said there was substantive laws to be absorbed and digested in the area of maritime law and many of its core principles were congruent and accepted by major legal systems of the world.

Professor Darte-Bah was speaking at the 12th Maritime Law Seminar for judges in Accra on Friday. It would afford the judges the opportunity to brainstorm on ocean governance and Maritime Law.

Chairing the function, he said the significance of Maritime Law was increasing with an increasing digitalisation of global trade.

“As the digital revolution leads to a much greater flow of data around the world, there has been a proportionate and exponential expansion in the inflow of goods and services around the world.”

He noted that courts and tribunals around the world had been compelled to reexamine their performance to align their practices with efficient, just and speedy case management, hearing adjudication.

He said the pressure for efficiency in litigation management has repercussions on maritime dispute because litigants would compare the performance in courts in different jurisdictions and make choices depending on their perception of the efficiency of a particular court.

Prof. Darte-Bah said where a national court fell below expectation it was not only in danger of losing respect and authority but litigants would bypass it with arbitration and mediation.

He said capacity building for the judges ought to be encouraged and ask the Ghana Shippers Authority to consider focusing on environmental impact due to increased maritime activities and their implications.

“Given the climate emergency that the world is now in, we should all now be environmentalists to fashion out legal solution to the environment issues raised by increasing maritime activities”.

Ms Gloria Akuffo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, tasked law faculties in the country to introduce course in Maritime Law as part of the curriculum of legal studies as an elective.

She said that would stimulate interest in Maritime Law as well as address the gaps in the sector.

She expressed dissatisfaction with the work so far on an imminent dispute between Togo, Benin and Ghana on an eastern maritime boundary.

Source: GNA

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