The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has finally picked Justice Sophia Akuffo to serve as the country’s new Chief Justice.
He made the announcement today [Friday, May 12], at the Flagstaff House, after which her name will be presented to Parliament for approval.
Ms. Akuffo, if approved by the legislative body, will take over from Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, who retires on June 8, 2017. She will also be the second woman to serve in that position.
In making the announcement, the President noted that, he has known the new CJ for nearly forty years, and trusts in her ability and integrity to deliver.
“I have known Justice Sophia Akuffo well for over forty forty years. Indeed, she was my first junior in practice, as barristers call their work. She impresses me considerably with her hard work, her capacity for detailed research, her independence of mind and spirit, her honesty and integrity, her deep-seated respect for rule of law and her abiding belief in the sovereignty of the Almighty God. I believe these are the qualities which sustained her brilliant career as a lawyer that propelled her to the notice of the first President of the Fourth Republic, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings who appointed her to the Supreme Court on 30th November 1995; some 22 years ago. She has been one of the leading lights of the court since her appointment, and her contribution to the court’s work and the growth of our nation’s jurisprudence has been extensive.”
The President added that “She has enriched her judicial experience by serving with credit on continental judicial bodies, such as the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, where she ended up as President of the Court. I have no doubt, that Justice Akuffo will be a worthy successor to Chief Justice Wood, and uphold jealously the independence of the judiciary. I expect discipline, fairness, integrity and the continuing modernization of judicial activities to be the hallmark of her tenure if she’s so endorsed by the constitutional bodies.”
Ahead of the official announcement of the new Chief Justice, many had tipped Justices Jones Dotse and Anin Yeboah as likely candidates to be picked among the 12 Justices of the Supreme Court qualified to occupy the high office.
But neither names were considered. Rather, the next senior most Justice of the Supreme Court, Sophia Akuffo was chosen in consultation with the Council of State.
Justice William Atuguba is the senior-most among the 12 Justices of the Supreme Court, but he will be retiring soon, which puts Ms. Sophia in a better position to be chosen.
About Sophia Akuffo
Sophia Akuffo had her Masters in Law (LLM) from the Havard University in the United States.
She has been a member of the Governing Committee of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute and the Chairperson of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Task Force.
In January 2006, she was elected one of the first judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights initially elected for two years, she was subsequently re-elected until 2014 and is at present serving as Vice-President of the Court.
She has written The Application of Information & Communication Technology in the Judicial Process – the Ghanaian Experience, a presentation to the African Judicial Network Ghana (2002).
If confirmed by parliament Justice Sophia Akuffo will be the fifth Chief Justice under the fourth republic after; Isaac Kobina Abban who served between 1995 to 2001.
Edward Kwame Wiredu also served between 2001 and 2003 while George Kingley Acquah served from 2003 to 2007 before Georgina Theodora Wood from 2007 to 2017.
Justice Akuffo will also be the 13th Chief Justice in the history of the Republic of Ghana.