Following a question by a member of the Appointments Committee of Parliament on the increasing number of justices to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court Justice nominee, Professor Nii Ashie Kotey, has indicated that the extensive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is the cause of delays in cases at the court.
In his submission at the vetting committee of parliament, Prof. Ashie Kotey suggested that the extensive jurisdiction of the apex court of the land must rather be limited to ensure effective justice delivery in cases pending before the Court.
He explained that “until we have been able to creatively reduce the extensive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, there would be delay in justice delivery. The reason why the number of judges have increased at the Supreme court is due to its extensive jurisdiction. There should be a way to reduce the extensive jurisdiction of the apex court to ensure speedy and quality delivery of justice.
He reiterated that the Supreme Court is struggling to discharge its obligations in terms of ruling on cases and therefore, there is the need to assign some of the obligations of the court to other specialised and lower courts.
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the final appellate body of the whole court system of the country.
It has the original and exclusive jurisdiction in all matters relating to the enforcement or interpretation of the Constitution and all matters arising as to whether an enactment was made in excess of the powers conferred on Parliament or any other authority or person by law or under the Constitution.
Appeals from the National House of Chiefs are heard by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court also has supervisory jurisdiction over all Courts in the country.
The Court is to consist of not less than nine (9) Justices. For its work, the Court is duly constituted by five (5) Justices.
Currently there are eleven (11) Justices of the Supreme Court.
Article 129 of the 1992 constitution in Clause (1) states that “the Supreme Court shall be the final court of appeal and shall have such appellate and other jurisdiction as may be conferred on it by this Constitution or by any other law.
(2) The Supreme Court shall not be bound to follow the decisions of any other court.
(3) The Supreme Court may, while treating its own previous decisions as normally binding, depart from a previous decision when it appears to it right to do so; and all other courts shall be bound to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court on questions of law.
(4) For the purposes of hearing and determining a matter within its jurisdiction and the amendment, execution or the enforcement of a judgement or order made on any matter, and for the purposes of any other authority, expressly or by necessary implication given to the Supreme Court by this Constitution or any other law, the Supreme Court shall have all the powers, authority and Jurisdiction vested in any court established by this Constitution or any other law”.