The courts in Ghana have been classified into two main categories the Superior Courts of Judicature and the lower Courts.Article 126of the 1992 Constitution of Ghanacreated superior courts as follows;

       i. Supreme Court

      ii.Court of Appeal

      iii.The High Court

      iv.Regional Tribunals

The Constitution authorised Parliament to create such lower Courts as it deems fit. Parliament created the lower courts under Section 39 of the Courts Act, 1993, (Act 459).The lower courts created by Parliament are as follows;

      i. Circuit Court

      ii.District Court

      iii.The Juvenile Courts and

      iv.The courts with jurisdiction in cause or matter affecting chieftaincy.

Article 125(4) of the 1992 Constitutionmade the Chief Justice the head of the judiciary to be responsible for the administration and supervision of the judiciary. The judiciary has final judicial powers in all matters to the exclusion of the President of Ghana or Parliament.

The name of the Chief Justice is Chief Justice AninYeboah

Ghana inherited its legal systems through the British who colonised Ghana until 1957 when Ghana attained her independence. In 1876 the British further passed the Supreme Court Ordinance and made the rules of Common law, Rules of Equity and other laws which were in force in Britain as at 24th July 1874 as part of the laws of the then Gold Coast.

Ghana had an unwritten constitution during the colonial regime until it attained independence on the 6th of March 1957 where it had its first written constitution.

Ghana had her first Constitution in 1957. Ghana subsequently had its Republic in 1960. Ghana hadtheFirst Republican Constitution in 1960, Second Republican Constitution in 1969 and the Third Republican Constitution in 1979.The current Constitution was enactedin 1992 to take effect from 7th January 1993.

There were intermittent coup d’états in 1966, 1972 and 1981 which abrogated the 1960, 1969 and 1979 Constitutions respectively.

Ghana has had fundament human rights provisions as an inherent right. However, the 1960 Constitution had provisions on human rights under article 13, but the Court in the case of Re Akoto and seven others 1961 GLR 523held that provision was not a fundament human rights but a moral duty imposed on the President to observe those rights.

Chapter 4 of the 1969 Constitution which cover Article 12 to 28 was on Liberty on the individual; fundamental human rights. Chapter 6 of the 1969 which covered Article 19 to 35 was on fundamental human rights. Presently Chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution which covers Article 12 to 33 is on fundamental human rights.

Ghana has had 5 written Constitutions namely, 1957,1960,1969,1979 and 1992. The 1957 Constitution was repealed and gave way to the first Republican Constitution in 1960. The 1960 Constitution was abrogated and suspended through a coup d’état in 1966. The 1969 Constitution was abrogated and suspended through a coup d’état in 1972 and the 1979 Constitution was abrogated and suspend through a coup d’état in 1981.

The Supreme Court Ordinance of 1876 established the Supreme Court and the Full Court of Gold Coast as the Superior Court of Judicature. The Supreme Court then had the same jurisdiction as the High Court of England. The decision of the Supreme Court was appealable to the Full Court, and the decision of the Full Court was appealable to the Privy Council in accordance with The Privy Council Order in Council 1887. The chiefs also exercised both civil and criminal jurisdictions. The structure of the court underwent several changes and in 1960 the Superior Court of Judicature was made up the High Court and Supreme Court only. The 1969 Constitution first included the Court of Appeal as part of the Superior Court of Judicature.

The decision of the courts in Ghana are largely influenced by the philosophical schools namely, the natural law, positivism and the socialismschools. The natural law school has given birth to purposive and intentionalism approaches to interpretation. The Literalism school and the textualism school of thought derived their source from the positivist. The Kelsen theory has also been discussed in some cases involving coup d’états. Realism has never been applied as one of the jurisprudential schools in Ghana though it is taught as one of the philosophical schools.



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