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A reflection on directives of Main Justice of the United Kingdom and Ghana on coronavirus


‘…it is the duty of this court to hold the door to the shrine of justice extensive open than to close it.” 

The year 2020 is a hoping time for the judiciary in each Jurisdiction with no conclusion in sight. The coronavirus has claimed above 40,000 lives as at 30 March 2020 and continues to wreak havoc to the complete human race. 

The Main Justices in numerous jurisdictions have set in place mechanisms to suppress the distribute of the virus from the nerve centre of justice i.e the Courts.

The Business of the Lord Main Justice of the
United Kingdom hereinafter simply referred to as The OLCJ for convenience has
issued 4 notices and directives spanning from 18 March to 24 March 2020 to
curb the unfold of the virus from coming into get hold of with judicial officers
and the Courts.

On the 17 of March 2020, The OLCJ issued
the subsequent directives which can be encapsulated as follows That all authorized
representation must be supplied by means of motions and penned responses with
hearings scheduled only on Mondays, Wednesdays and, Fridays matter to

Also, the Lord Main Justice has limited
the attendance at the Courts to only the folks anxious. What’s more, the
Lord Main Justice directed all cases Judges to go on to deal with precedence
proceedings which usually involve the rapid liberty, health, protection and
wellbeing of men and women.

Sad to say, the higher than directives issued
on the 17th of March encapsulated earlier mentioned did not meet up with the expectation of the
OLCJ. Hence, upon the suggest from the Public Health and fitness Agency the OLCJ made a decision to
issue a next directive. On the 20th March 2020, the next directive identified as
for situations remaining undertaken remotely either by electronic mail, phone, video clip or Skype
(“remote hearing”).

On the 23 of March 2020, The OLCJ not
glad with the to start with and second directive issued its 3rd directive contacting
for not extra than 10 folks to be in the court docket (having into account the decide,
courtroom personnel) and exactly where there is area to accommodate advisable social
distancing actions need to be used.

On the 24 of March 2020, The Lord Main
Justice announced that with influence from Thursday 26 March 2020 all courtroom business
is to be consolidated in The Royal Courts of Justice, Laganside Courts,
Craigavon, Dungannon and Londonderry Courthouses and only urgent matters will
be tackled by way of a courtroom hearing until finally even further notice.

In a nutshell, two lessons emanate from the
above directive from the OLCJ, that is, the directives ended up issued in bits and
the 2nd directive makes use of contemporary technological innovation as means of hearing issues
right before the Courts.

In the scenario study of Ghana, the Main
Justice has issued only two directives in sharp distinction with its United
Kingdom counterpart.

The very first of this kind of directive by the Main
Justice of Ghana was built the 16 March 2020 and the second was made on 20 March

In a nutshell, the directive made on the 16
March 2020 gave mandates to the Judges to grant very long adjournments and minimal
only necessary parties as persons who are to look just before the Courts.

In addition to the over directive, the
Chief Justice issued a 2nd directive hazard the 1st directive and certain
the Judicial Officers that the Judiciary has made provisions for protecting
clothing and sanitizers at the Courts and preparations to disinfect the Courts.

It can be noticed that in the circumstance research
of the directives issued by Ghana’s judiciary, necessary overall health provisions are
created during the Courts to management the distribute of the virus, not like its
United Kingdom counterparts.

Nevertheless, the use of modern-day know-how
which was part of the 2nd directive issued by The OLCJ these types of as skype and e-mails
to empower judges and legal professionals to get the job done from their places of work and properties were not
regarded as in the to start with and 2nd directives issued by the Main Justice of

It is tribe finding out that Short article 19(14) of
the Constitution of Ghana mandates all the adjudicating authority to hear
proceedings in community besides in the curiosity of community morality, public protection,
or public buy. This Constitutional provision is re-hazard beneath Get 1 rule
2(1) of the High Courtroom Civil Technique Procedures,2004. It is in fact evident that
the Covid-19 has induced community basic safety concerns and the require to dispense with
a public hearing and resort to modern know-how in outstanding situations is nigh.
This will solidify Ghana’s democratic gains and preserve the overall doorways of
justice open up at all times. For it is advised that, the rules of
constitutional interpretation, this kind of as the want for a benevolent, wide,
liberal and purposive design of the 1992 Structure as a political
document sui generis, and able of progress.

In relying on contemporary know-how to salvage
the vessel of justice, Ghana’s Judiciary can gradually steer off evidently from
the dreaded coronavirus.

For as the wheels of justice carry on to
grind cautiously we can just take utmost solace and be a part of fingers and hearts with all
Psalmists that we shall anxiety no evil!  

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