Consider online adjudication in the midst of COVID-19 – Judge

Mr Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei

Professor Justice Sir Dennis Adjei, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, has suggested that the Judicial Service considers authorising the conduct of some trials through electronic platforms and internet-based applications as a stop-gap measure to the fight of Covid-19.

Professor Justice Sir Dennis Adjei made the call when he delivered via Zoom, the maiden lecture of the 14-week long Law and Ethics Web Series, on the theme: “Covid-19, Legal Practice and its implications for Judicial Decision Making”.

The lecture is being jointly organised by the African Centre on Law and Ethics (ACLE) and the African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ), both based at the GIMPA Faculty of Law.

Prof Justice Sir Adjei said “Doctors are working, Engineers are working, Lecturers are teaching online, so Judges too must deliver and the Courts must work.”

“In the phase of Covid-19, every institution must work but we must observe physical distancing and where you can use internet facility to achieve the purpose of your work, you must use it.”

The Justice of the Court of Appeal said there were few laws on the statute books of Ghana that would have to be amended to accommodate his suggestion of online adjudication of court cases.

“We should look at Order 33 of CI 47, which requires the Court to provide for a place of trial. It could be amended to include any other electronic mode that the Court may determine and not a physical place as in the court room,” he indicated.

“Order 36 of the High Court civil procedure rules, CI 47, which requires parties to attend trial in person and failure of which attracts sanctions could also be amended to make video link or any other digital means to amount to physical appearance”.

The Law and Ethics Web Series is expected to be held every Wednesday at 1400 hours, which began May 6, this year, on the online meeting platform; Zoom.

There are pending presentations on May 13, May 20, May 27, June 3, June 10, June 17, June 24, July 1, July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29, and August 5, which will come on as scheduled.

Various speakers have been lined up for the series.

It is being coordinated by Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, a Lecturer and Head of Law Centre at the GIMPA Faculty of Law.

The maiden session was moderated by Ms Diana Asonaba Dapaah, also a Lecturer at the GIMPA Faculty of Law, under the distinguished patronage of the Rector of GIMPA, Professor Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson.

Source: GNA

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