THE Position OF LEGAL Specialists IN CONSOLIDATING GHANA’S DEMOCRACY AND Superior-GOVERNANCE
To chat about Superior Governance from the African point of view, we require to make reference to the Durban Declaration on Democracy, Political, Financial and Corporate Governance, which mentions among other matters “just, sincere, transparent, accountable, participatory government and probity in public lifetime”. Accordingly, African States in that declaration have agreed to operate with renewed resolve to enforce the rule of regulation equality of all citizens ahead of the regulation personal and collective freedoms the appropriate to take part in cost-free, credible and democratic political method and adhere to the separation of powers, including protection for the independence of the judiciary.
In the accomplishment of these plans the purpose of the legal profession is quite substantial. I would therefore like to chat about the legal profession in just the context of democratic governance. Right before addressing this unique challenge, I deem it equally important to chat about Ghana’s degree of dedication and overall performance in guaranteeing democracy and great governance as portrayed in its evaluation underneath the African Peer Evaluate System.
Democracy and great governance
The African Peer Evaluate System (APRM) is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member States of the African Union and it is an revolutionary strategy to increasing governance. The origin of APRM was the thirty seventh Summit of the Corporation of African Unity held in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia, adopted a document placing out a new vision for the revival and development of Africa, which was to develop into known as the New Partnership for Africa’s Growth. (NEPAD)
Take note that as of June 2005, the APRM Participating Countries were being, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda Expressions of Intention to Accede to the APRM have been gained from: São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan, Zambia.
The mandate of the APRM is to really encourage conformity in regard to political, economic and company governance values, codes and standards, among African nations. Ghana has been a shining example in the APRM method, remaining among the initially team of nations to signal the Memorandum of Knowing on 9 March 2003.
Ghana instituted a Countrywide Governing Council in compliance with the requirement for collaborating nations to have an unbiased self-evaluation of its governance record in four spots, namely: Democracy and Political Governance Financial Governance and Management Corporate Governance and Socio-Financial Growth. This report, even so, will concentration on Democracy and Political Governance.
To date, Ghanaians have had a lot more than a decade of peaceful and acceptable constitutional rule. Ghana has also been capable to change political rulers by means of the electoral method in a fashion normally perceived to be cost-free and truthful. The 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections have confirmed the citizens’ acceptance of the electoral theory as the respectable mechanism for obtaining political power and assuming management of the institutions of governance. There is a increasing perception of reduction, self esteem and pleasure among Ghanaians that they have, at very last, reached political stability. It is this accomplishment that has informed the conclusion of the US President Barrack Obama to decide on Ghana as his initially region of check out in the Sub-Saharan Africa soon after becoming a President. Addressing the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra on 11th July 2009 to outline the US Overseas Coverage in the direction of Africa, President Obama confirmed it by stating “Below in Ghana, you exhibit us a face of Africa that is often forgotten by a environment that only sees tragedy or a require for charity” The credit rating is even that, despite the fact that our program of governance has determined certain important deficiencies in the guidelines and observe, Ghanaians are assured that they have the freedom, capacity and will to rectify these.
Ghanaians have also established exceptional institutions and procedures that other African nations could take into consideration emulating or adapting for their very own use. These consist of the Once-a-year Governance Forum, exactly where stakeholders explore chosen difficulties on democracy and great political governance. It is held just about every calendar year considering that 1998 underneath the auspices of the Countrywide Governance Programme. The other, instituted in 2001 is the People’s Assembly, an annual conversation between the President and the people. The Assembly lets Ghanaians from all walks of lifetime to pose any thoughts to the President.
The Assembly and the Forum have expanded the political place for everyday people and have introduced the government closer to them. These institutions have definitely demystified the government, rendering it a lot less remote.
Even a lot more exceptional is the actuality that, compared with previously democratic transitions in the region that lasted only for a couple yrs ahead of they were being aborted, the present changeover has lasted about sixteen yrs and Ghana continues to go ahead as a progressive and democratic state.
In the past, couple women maintain key conclusion-creating positions in the economic, political and social lifetime of Ghana, and they come across really serious hindrances to their involvement in politics and in public political lifetime. Even so, the ruling government stipulates 40% illustration of women at all levels of governance, on Public Boards, Commissions, the Cabinet and Council of Condition.
Rule of regulation and supremacy of the Ghanaian Constitution
The supremacy of the Constitution and entrenchment of the rule of regulation are the simple foundations on which all the institutions of governance are grounded. The structure and the rule of regulation provide protection of personal lifetime protection from the government’s arbitrariness or abuse of power and the assurance that a person can enjoy the fruits of one’s labour.
The 1992 Constitution is made up of enough provisions that entrench the rule of regulation, and constrain the abuse of power and discretionary authority of people in government positions. The courts have evidently asserted their unbiased powers of judicial assessment and are inclined to pronounce certain acts or behaviour of the Government branch of government unconstitutional. Ghana has demonstrated that it is achievable for the judiciary to be unbiased in Africa.
Though the rule of regulation is a actuality in Ghana, some sections of the populace are routinely denied accessibility to justice because they cannot afford legal illustration. The superior expense of justice in Ghana is of really serious issue. Try is remaining manufactured to reduce the circumstance by managing legal aid amenities, but these are couple and insufficiently funded.
The judiciary itself suffers from absence of adequate capability to administer justice. Availability of place of work place and courtrooms is a important problem, both equally at the headquarters in Accra and countrywide. Just about every calendar year, budgetary allocations have been insufficient to meet up with the increasing infrastructure requires of the judiciary. This influences the simple circulation of justice and finally compromises the rule of regulation.
Legal provisions recognizing and guaranteeing human legal rights
In supplying a agency constitutional framework for endorsing respect for human legal rights by all Ghanaians and protecting against abuses by the Condition, the 1992 Constitution has been a refreshing advancement on preceding constitutions of the region.
Chapter 5 of the Constitution provides not only for civil and political legal rights, but also for social and economic legal rights. Among the civil and political legal rights enshrined in the 1992 Constitution, are: the appropriate to lifetime, the appropriate to liberty and security of the person, the appropriate to human dignity, the appropriate to equality and freedom from discrimination, the legal rights of accused, arrested and detained people, the appropriate to cost-free speech and expression, the legal rights of political participation, the legal rights of cost-free association and assembly.
These legal rights are not complete. Situations for deviating from them, generally for good reasons of Condition, are also stipulated in the Constitution.
Many provisions in the 1992 Constitution underscore the democratic legal rights of Ghanaians, and safe the independence of electoral mechanisms to make sure cost-free and truthful electoral procedures. The Electoral Commission (EC) and the Countrywide Commission for Civic Training (NCCE) encourage and protect the elementary constitutional legal rights of Ghanaians to take part in political and related pursuits. The judicial program is built to protect these legal rights and offers chances for redress by aggrieved people and teams whose legal rights are violated or infringed on.
Anti-Corruption and Superior Governance
Corruption is a important governance problem in Ghana. Even so, Ghana has manufactured a exceptional progress in the manage of corruption in public lifetime about the past decade. This is attributable to the collaborative effort of Anti-Corruption institutions in Ghana these as: The Significant Fraud Place of work (SFO) The Commission on Human Rights and Administration of Justice (CHRAJ) The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GIL) The Ghana Chapter of Transparency Global and The Protection Agencies. Through their contributions and recommendations, many anti-corruption payments have been enacted into regulation by the Ghanaian Parliament including: Safeguarded Public Desire Disclosure Act, (Whistle Blower Act) Public Procurement Act Money Administration Act and quite a few some others.
For the initially time in 2007, public hearings of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament took location and dependent on this the Attorney General’s Department had set up an Anti-Corruption Device to analyze recommendations manufactured by the Committee and to prosecute scenarios that require to be prosecuted. Many pre-emptive measures are in location to counter cash laundering. The measures consist of Narcotic Enforcement and Sanction Law, 1990 three conventions on terrorism, ratified in 2002 A four-section motion system built in 2003 in reaction to the Inter- Governmental Motion on Revenue Laundering underneath the aegis of the Financial Local community of West African States (ECOWAS) The establishment in 2004 of the Money Intelligence Device. Also, complementary endeavours have emanated from the functions of banking and non-bonding fiscal institutions and the regulation enforcement businesses.
Though Ghana has been enthusiastic in acceding to, and ratifying regional and international standards and codes, a selection of key human legal rights instruments stay to be ratified. These consist of Convention Versus Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and UN Convention Versus Corruption, (2003). This can weaken the country’s democracy and great governance record. Ghana should take into consideration adopting a binding time-body in just which to accede to the many AU conventions. They consist of: African Kid’s Constitution, 1990 Amendments to the Constitutive Act of the African Union, 2003 AU Convention in opposition to Corruption, 2003 Protocol on the African Courtroom of Human and Peoples’ Rights, 1998 and Protocol on the African Courtroom of Justice, 2003.
The Position of the Legal Occupation
Initial of all we require to know of the legal profession in Ghana because there is a apparent hyperlink between the profession itself and the purpose it is enjoying in democratic governance
The legal profession lets a certified lawyer to observe as either a solicitor, barrister or both equally and can observe in all courts. The Common Legal Council is the statutory entire body regulating the profession and promotions with complaints in opposition to expert perform.
The Ghana Bar Affiliation (GBA) is the expert association for lawyers in Ghana. Membership is not obligatory but all admitted associates of the profession are instantly registered as associates with the GBA. Though not built in statute, it is recognized by the Constitution. As at now 450 firms are recognized by the GBA as remaining of great-standing.
The legal market is dominated mainly by little commercial techniques, a selection of which are ever more benefiting from making informal associations with intercontinental regulation firms.
Overseas lawyers are permitted to observe in Ghana presented that they have the expected skills from their residence jurisdiction, a letter of great-standing from their residence bar, happy by the Common Legal Council and go the expected test in Ghanaian Constitutional law and the Customary Law of Ghana. Non-Ghanaian citizens will have to reveal 7 yrs PQE in a region with a suitable legal program.
The legal industry experts in Ghana can take pleasure in the actuality that they have played a central part in the restoration and consolidation of democracy and great governance in the Fourth Republic. This is because, during the unconstitutional rule in Ghana, the Ghana Bar Affiliation acted as the opposition, insisting at its congresses on the require to return to civilian democratic rule underneath a structure that can ensure human legal rights and the rule regulation
It is of good fulfillment to the profession that the recent elections of December 2008 witnessed a historic, peaceful transfer of power from a person democratically elected government to another with cooperation from the judiciary and the legal practitioners. The electoral guidelines and the structure have been place to test in courts and have reviled many gaps and overlaps in our electoral program, but the test (while controversial) has supplied bring about to amendments and development of the regulation.
The quality of the overall performance of the legal sector is an important determinant of our potential customers for consolidating democracy and great governance. An successful legal program affords a lot more helpful protection of the human legal rights, freedoms and liberties of the citizenry, and readily available evidence from reputable reports demonstrates evidently that a effectively working legal program promotes business development and rising incomes. Wherever there is no rule of regulation, official contracts cannot be respected and enforced, businesses will not improve and buyers will not risk their funds.
It is for all these good reasons that the Ghanaian government is keenly supporting a large-ranging programme of legal sector reform, which will involve: the mechanization and computerization of the exceptional courts of record the rapid monitor program, built to speed up judicial output the reform and improvement of the ability of key legal sector businesses these as the reduce courts and the Ministry of Justice the reform of the legal and regulatory framework for doing business in Ghana and the reform of the program of land tenure to allow the modernization of agriculture.
Ghana is creating good strides to make sure that it stays a person of the most secure nations in the location and to maintain great and democratic governance. In other to realize this aim certain difficulties require to be resolved seriously.
The time has arrive for all the legal industry experts to make concerted endeavours to change the damaging image and make sure the reform of the legal program so that it can supply improved quality of services to the people. The new administration in Ghana underneath President Mills believes firmly that an successful legal program is an integral, essential part of the kind of state and society it desires to establish. Our vision of the region is to build a society in which the state safeguards the susceptible and the deprived, because the humane society requires that each be his brother or sister’s keeper.
This kind of a society requires a legal program which can take care of disputes speedily, reasonably and cheaply which can body the guidelines and laws in apparent, comprehensible language which can present the legal aid for a vigorous business overall economy which assures equivalent accessibility to justice and equivalent remedy ahead of the regulation for all citizens and which can make sure the supremacy of the rule of regulation and respect for human legal rights.
As we can see, the lawyer will have to make a multifaceted contribution to the new democratic society exactly where probity and accountability are expected of all public officials in the overall performance of their obligations. Specialization is now the way of guaranteeing excellence of services. We require great constitutional lawyers great human legal rights lawyers great commercial lawyers lawyers effectively-versed in arbitration regulation lawyers common with complicated fiscal instruments we want lawyers who are on major of the amazing expansion in communications regulation, cyberspace and e-commerce who focus in work regulation, tax regulation, property regulation, pure source regulation and environmental regulation.
We require also lawyers who have an understanding of the new principles of engagement of the intercontinental buying and selling program remaining fashioned underneath the aegis of the Environment Trade Corporation (WTO), so that we can take benefit of the principles and not be exploited by them and who will direct the way in the direction of the establishment of a a lot more just and equitable buying and selling program. In the outings – regulated environment, we require lawyers who are thoroughly conversant with the intricacies of intellectual property regulation, including the protection of our national heritage and standard know-how. Social development and great governance, consequently, need a wide selection of legal expertise.
We also require to reform the legal profession and modernize our procedures of operate. We will have to embrace as a issue of urgency the new details technology and make our legal services a lot easier and more rapidly.
It is required to enhance the application of our code of ethics and bolster the sanctions for delinquents and violators. Reforms throughout the full breadth of our legal program are what are expected to strengthen the quality of our legal program and bolster the ability of the Ghanaian legal profession to face up to the interesting troubles forward of it in our new democratic dispensation.
We have to design and style a positive natural coverage in opposition to corruption, emphasizing apparent principles and sustainable institutions that realize sanction with justice. Entrenching the rule of regulation is the overriding consideration of public coverage in up to date Ghana. And the rule of regulation requires that the prison method, particularly, is invoked in opposition to citizens not because of their political allegiance but because of their involvement in allegedly prison action.
The consolidation of democracy and the advertising of constitutional rule need also that we offer with some of the difficulties from our past that impede the sustainability of democracy and peace in the Ghana.