The “additional judge” concept revisited.
There are many procedures, processes and concepts that guide the administration of justice in most countries. The sources of these elements may be found in constitutions, statutes, legislative instruments and rules of procedure.

  1. A: Introduction
  2. There are many procedures, processes and concepts that guide the administration of justice in most countries. The sources of these elements may be found in constitutions, statutes, legislative instruments and rules of procedure. Some may also come about by way of convention and usage. The main aim of these elements is to assure a speedy, fair, cost-effective and transparent justice delivery system. One such element is the ‘additional judge’ concept. This is the practice where a judge of a Superior Court, say the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court, sits and tries a case at a lower trial court, for example, the High Court. Such a judge from the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court will be described as an ‘additional High Court judge’. This article discusses the additional judge concept and its antecedents.  The discussion will also touch on how additional judges have been used in the trial of some cases in the 4th Republic. Furthermore, the Supreme Court’s recent 3-2 majority decision in the Opuni case setting aside the 3-year old proceedings at the High Court presided over by a Supreme Court Justice sitting as an additional judge will be analyzed. Finally, the article will look at the issue of whether the additional judge concept has outlived its usefulness in Ghana’s constitutional democracy.
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  4. B: The ‘additional judge’ concept and its antecedents
  5. The concept of additional judge is not defined in the 1992 Constitution but it appears to be captured in article 139 (1) (c). The article permits a Chief Justice to write and request any Superior Court Justice to sit as a High Court judge for a given time[1]. It bears noting that, the 1960 Constitution had no such provision. The 1968 Proposed Constitution also had no such provision in the proposed article 112 that dealt with the composition of the High Court. Curiously, when the 1969 Constitution came into being, article 112 (1) contained a sub clause (c) that introduced a provision empowering a Chief Justice to request other Superior Court Judges in writing to sit as High Court Judges. 

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