Akufo-Addo launches Legal Aid and Law Reform Funds
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Wednesday launched two statutory funds aimed at enhancing access to justice delivery and modernizing the laws of Ghana.
They are the Legal Aid Commission Fund and the Law Reform Commission Fund. Both statutory Funds were unveiled with seed money of One million Cedis each.
The Legal Aid Fund is intended to provide a sturdy mechanism for the provision of comprehensive legal assistance to the poor in Ghanaian society in all cases, whilst the Law Reform Fund would be leveraged to undertake projects for the development and reform of the laws of Ghana in tune with modern trends and develop human resources in law reform.
Speaking at the event, held at the Law Court Complex in Accra, President Akufo-Addo who made a personal donation of GHc100,000 each to both funds, said the development was a catalyst for equality, justice and fairness in society.
He noted that the Legal Aid Fund would enable the Commission to support the vulnerable in society to have access to legal services, such as advice, representation and education on legal matters, and thus ensure justice delivery for all irrespective of one’s status.
The President commended the Legal Aid Commission for its sterling achievements even in the face of logistical and human resource challenges.
He pledged the government’s commitment to addressing the resource needs of the commission to ensure that the institution delivered on its mandate as enshrined in the Legal Aid Commission Act 2008, (Act 977)
On the Law Reform Fund, President Akufo-Addo remarked that the statutory arrangement would support research to refine Ghana’s laws and strengthen the Law Reform Commission to identify particular areas of law for reform.
He said the Fund would enable the Commission to make practical recommendations for the development, simplification, and modernisation of the law.
The President was hopeful that the launch of these funds would “usher in a progressive chapter in the lives of the two Commissions”.
“I urge all gathered here to contribute generously to the fund and I assure the Attorney General that the Minister for Finance through Parliament will provide more adequate resources for the sustenance of these funds,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo also charged the management and boards of the two Commissions to ensure that they employ prudent measures in the management and disbursement of resources that would flow into their respective funds.
“I also urge the board of the Legal Aid Commission which is chaired by the respected Justice of the Supreme Court, Mr Justice Nene Amegatcher, and the board of the Law Reform Commission, which is chaired by the prominent legal practitioner, Mr Anthony Akoto Ampaw, to discharge faithfully, dutifully, the mandates of managing the funds in accordance with section 34 of Act 977 and section 13 of Act 822 respectfully,” he said.
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame stressed that the establishment of the two funds “will lay the building blocks for the transformation of two very important institutions whose mandate is crucial for enhancing access to justice delivery in the country.”
He urged institutions of the state, the diplomatic community, civil society organizations, development partners and stakeholders to make generous contributions to both funds to enable the two commissions to attain their objectives.
Supreme Court Judge, Justice Jones Dotse, who represented the Chief Justice, commended the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice for their role in the establishment of the two funds and emphasized that Ghana’s laws needed reforms to address the challenges to justice delivery.
Whilst commending the establishment of the Legal Aid Fund, he stressed the need for the General Legal Council to make it mandatory for lawyers to do a number of pro-bono cases before the renewal of their licenses.
That, he said, would also ensure that the poor and vulnerable in society got access to legal services to reduce the burden on the Legal Aid Fund.