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Chief Justice Implements Shift System for Courts

As part of efforts to reduce the backlog of cases, the Judicial Service is implementing a shift system that will allow some courts to sit in the evening, Graphic.com.gh reports.

Dubbed the court shift system (CSS), the new innovation introduced by the Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, will allow the selected courts to operate in two sessions- morning and afternoon, with the morning session spanning from 8:30 am to 1:00pm and afternoon session from 1:30pm to 6:30pm.

The CSS is expected to commence from March 25 this year.

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The courts selected for the CSS are the two High Courts at Adentan, the Amasaman High Court 1, the Circuit Court at Weija, the and the District Court at La, the District Court at Teshie, the two District Courts at Madina and the Nsawam High Court.

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Rationale

A circular to all courts, signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Cyra Pamela Addo, and dated March 14, this year, said the CSS which is currently on a pilot basis is targeted at courts with more 600 pending cases

The rationale, the circular said, was to reduce the backlog of cases to improve access to justice for people.

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“The rational for the Court Shift System stems from the fact that, findings from a physical
count of dockets undertaken in all Courts nationwide demonstrated that a number of
identified Courts have huge caseloads with some in excess of 600 pending cases.

“It is envisaged that the Court Shift System when implemented will reduce the backlog of
cases in the specified courts, improve accessibility to justice for citizens by offering
flexible court hours that accommodate diverse schedules, and enhance the overall
effectiveness of the judicial system,the circular said.

According to the circular, the CSS will be implemented by optimising the existing resources of the courts.

Backlog of cases

During an interaction with the media after the opening of a new circuit court at Atebubu in the Bono East Region in December last year, the Chief Justice hinted the implementation of the CSS on a pilot basis.

Justice Torkornoo lauded the government for constructing more than 100 new courts, which she said would tremendously increase access to justice.

However, she said some courts had less case backlog as compared to others, with some inundated with as many as 1,000 cases.

Such a situation, she said, meant there was enormous pressure on such courts, making it difficult for them to deal with such cases expeditiously.

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