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Courts to Run Evening Shifts in Innovative Push

Boosting Access to Justice Through Extended Hours

by Victor Adetimilehin

The Judicial Service, under the leadership of Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, is set to roll out a court shift system (CSS) aimed at enhancing the efficiency of the judiciary. This system, which introduces evening sessions for selected courts, marks a significant stride towards alleviating the pressing backlog of cases.

A Dual-Session Day for Swift Justice

Starting March 25, the CSS will divide court operations into two distinct shifts – a morning session from 8:30 am to 1 pm and an afternoon session stretching from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm. This initiative will initially be piloted in several High and District Courts known for their heavy caseloads, including two High Courts at Adentan, the Amasaman High Court 1, and courts in Weija, La, Teshie, Madina, and Nsawam.

The inception of the CSS is a direct response to the glaring need for a more accessible and efficient judicial process. A meticulous assessment revealed that certain courts are overwhelmed, some grappling with over 600 pending cases. By extending operating hours, the system aims to provide more flexible scheduling options for the public, ensuring that justice is not only served but is accessible to all who seek it.

During an interaction with the media after the opening of a new circuit court at Atebubu in the Bono East Region in December last year, the Chief Justice hinted the implementation of the CSS on a pilot basis.

Justice Torkornoo lauded the government for constructing more than 100 new courts, which she said would tremendously increase access to justice. However, she said some courts had less case backlog as compared to others, with some inundated with as many as 1,000 cases.

Such a situation, she said, meant there was enormous pressure on such courts, making it difficult for them to deal with such cases expeditiously.

A Beacon of Hope for the Justice System

Chief Justice Torkornoo’s vision extends beyond merely increasing courtroom hours; it is a comprehensive strategy to rejuvenate the nation’s legal infrastructure. By fostering a more responsive and adaptable judicial system, the CSS paves the way for quicker resolutions to pending cases, thus reinforcing the rule of law and public trust in legal institutions.

As the CSS unfolds, its success could herald a new era for the judiciary, where access to justice is not hindered by procedural delays but is expedited through innovative scheduling.

Source: Graphic Online 

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