CJ & Others Told To Learn, Write& Speak Simple English

the Executive Director of the of Ghana CDD the Executive Director of the of Ghana CDD

CJ & Others Told

To Learn,Write&

Speak Simple English

To communicate better, the Executive Director of the of Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), H. Kwasi Prempeh, has urged the Supreme Court to be more concise and unambiguous in their ruling in court cases as the Supreme Court is for all Ghanaians and not lawyers. His statement comes in the aftermath of yesterday’s ruling in the case of the NDC versus the Electoral Commission (EC) which appears to have been interpreted differently by the parties involved after the court made its judgment.

Both parties, have claimed victory, following the ruling presided by the Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah. Other judges on the panel included; Justices Jones Dotse, Paul Baffoe Bonnie, Sule Gbagegbe, Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, and Professor Ashie Kotey.

In a Facebook post, the law Professor said, “The Supreme Court of Ghana is the supreme court for Ghanaians, all Ghanaians, not for lawyers. Judges must learn to write and speak in Plain English!” He continued, “I have sighted the written orders on the reliefs. They could have been a lot clearer and aimed at the general population, at least in summary.” The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in May sued the EC at the Supreme Court over its decision to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 elections. The opposition party stated their stance against the EC’s decision, arguing that the exercise was unnecessary and costly. The EC being adamant, indicated its resolve to proceed with its decision. Following this, the NDC sought an order from the court to stop the EC from compiling a new voters register and an alternative order declaring as illegal the decision of the electoral body not to consider the old voter ID card as proof of citizenship for registering. But the Apex court, gave them a directive to choose on which of their two reliefs they wanted a decision on. It is for this reason the NDC dropped the case which questions the power of the EC to compile a new register. The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision, merged the two cases against the EC’s voters registration exercise. As a private citizen, Mark Takyi-Banso was also seeking the same relief as the NDC. In yesterday’s ruling, two reliefs out of the eight reliefs were granted to the NDC by the Apex court. These are the reliefs two and three. The two and three states “This relief is granted subject to the fact that all eligible voters must make themselves available for registration as directed by EC pursuant to public elections (Registration of voters) (Amendments) Regulations, 202 C.I 126.” “The relief is granted subject to the voter registration card issued to an eligible voter under the prevailing constitutional Instrument C.I 126. Upon this ruling the NDC’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, told Journalists at the Apex Court that they feel vindicated. He said, “We feel vindicated because the court itself, in an earlier ruling, has clearly stated that the possession of an existing voter ID card means that the holder is a citizen of Ghana, who is qualified to be registered and exercise his or her powers and, so, the court couldn’t have gone back on its own earlier ruling and it did also admit that the right to vote, once it accrues to a person, cannot be taken back in a whimsical and capricious manner in which the Electoral Commissionsought to do”. “We just came out of the Supreme Court and the court has just delivered a verdict, which has granted our request for the inclusion of the existing voter card as a breeder document for the compilation of the register and I think that we’re most grateful”. “We think that this is the most substantive issue for which we came to court, so, we’ll get back to the office and we’ll address a full-blown press conference on the consequential matters arising”, he said. This comment has generated some confusion as both parties (The plaintiff and defendant) are claiming victory. The plaintiff believes the court ruled that old voters ID can be used for the compilation of the new register while the defendant argues that the court was clear that electoral an independent body and can only be directed by the court if they go contrary to the very laws that brought their existence. But the court was very clear in its order for the EC to go ahead with the compilation of the new voters register. However, there has been some social media reaction on this ruling as many believe the court was not clear on its ruling. Based on the different interpretation of this ruling, the Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, said the Judges must learn to write and speak in plain English.

Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh had earlier described as “illogical”, reasons cited by the Supreme Court to reject an amicus curiae brief in the case against the compilation of a new voters’ register.


Some four civil society groups had gone to the apex court seeking to be granted audience in the case to volunteer relevant information to help in the determination of the case.

But their request was dismissed by the Supreme Court Wednesday on grounds that the think-tank groups which have been opposing the move to re-register Ghanaians for the next election, were not neutral on the issue and will not add any relevant information other than what is before them.

A member of the seven-member panel of justices, Baffoe Bonnie, is reported to have said the court was aware of what the CSOs had been up to and also taken judicial notice of their position on the matter.

The judge is said to have claimed that the groups were only coming to support a side, as he remarked “you are not neutral”.

But the court’s decision has shocked the law scholar who holds contrary view.

“This is the first time in my life as a constitutional law scholar and lawyer, trained in the Anglo-American legal tradition that I am learning that in order to be allowed permission to file an amicus curiae brief, one must be “neutral” or disinterested in the case in question,” he stated.

In a facebook post after the ruling, the man who is also the Executive Director of CDD-Ghana said the position of the court is opposite what is known in law.

“This is the exact opposite of everything I know about amicus briefs. Typically, one who is not otherwise a party to a case before an appellate or apex court must demonstrate a strong “interest” in the matter in order to be allowed the opportunity to submit an amicus brief,” he explained.

He wondered why a person who is “disinterested or neutral” will even bother to file an amicus brief in a case if the ruling of the Supreme Court is anything to go by.

In his view, the view taken by the Supreme Court on the instant matter turns Article 2 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution on its head.

“…in Ghana, where Article 2 of the Constitution entitles any citizen, natural or artificial, to bring a constitutional case before the Supreme Court, the idea that, once a certain party has already brought a matter, the outcome of which binds all citizens equally, no other person may file an amicus in the matter unless they are “neutral” (whatever that means) is simply illogical and, indeed, turns Article 2 on its head,” he stated.

He added: “That means, any person with a lawyer can just race to the Court to file an article 2 case, essentially for all of us (which is what a case with constitutional consequence means in effect), and simply by being first to file a case essentially prevent all other equally interested citizens from submitting an amicus brief in the same matter”.

‘Neutrality of amicus a myth’

A law activist, Stephen Kwaku Asare in agreeing with Prof. Prempeh said “neutrality of the amicus is at best a myth and should play no role in the decision to accept or reject his brief”.

He said he, however, agrees with the Chief Justice who chaired the panel, on the view that an amicus must be aware of the issues being litigated by the parties to offer the Court useful advice.

“Amicus’s admission that it had not read the parties’ pleadings was fatal,” he held.


Source: theheraldghana