Justice Sophia Akuffo is the new Chief Justice of Ghana. President Akufo Addo officially named the long time Judge of the Supreme Court to serve as the CJ, replacing CJ Georgina Wood. The office of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana will become vacant with effect from June 9, 2017, when Mrs. Wood leaves office after 40 years of service to the nation.
Justice Akuffo’s appointment is in accordance with Article 144 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, which states that; “the Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President acting in consultation with the Council of State and with the approval of Parliament.”
Ms. Akuffo who has a master’s degree in Law (LLM) from the Harvard University in the United States of America (USA), has been a Justice of the Supreme Court since 1995.
Justice Sophia was selected among 12 most senior judges of the country who were all fit for the position. Supreme Court justices, Jones Dotse and Anin Yeboah, had been tipped as keen contenders for the position. All the three justices have served creditably on the Bench and have been part of or led judgments in landmark cases. Ms. Akuffo however, beat all 11 to bag the prestigious position.
Having served for the past two decades, there are some interesting facts we would like you to know about the new Chief Justice of the nation.
- Justice Sophia Akuffo was born on 20th December 1949. The 67-year-old holds the fourth highest position in the country after the President, Vice-President, and Speaker of Parliament.
- The new CJ has a master’s degree in Law (LLM) from the University of Harvard in the United States of America (USA). She also trained as a lawyer under President Nana Akufo-Addo’s chambers.
- She has been a member of the Governing Committee of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute and Chairperson of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Task Force.
- She is the second most senior Justice on the Supreme Court bench after Justice William Atuguba. The most senior, Atuguba, was not picked as his retirement is very close.
- Chief Justice Akuffo will be the 13th Chief Justice in the history of Ghana. Her appointment will also make her the 5th Chief Justice in the fourth republic. Ms. Akuffo was appointed to the Supreme Court by Jerry John Rawlings on 30th November 1995.
- She is the immediate past President of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights. In January 2006, she was elected as one of the first judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and was re-elected, until 2014 when she served as the Vice-President.
- Justice Sophia Akuffo is a member in the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council. She has held membership of several organizations, including the Committee of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute.
- Ms. Akufo has got some publications to her name. The 67-year-old has written The Application of Information & Communication Technology in the Judicial Process – the Ghanaian Experience, a presentation to the African Judicial Network Ghana (2002).
- The Montie 3 case is one of the famous cases of Justice Akuffo. It was a case where three media personalities were arraigned for issuing death threats on Supreme court judges over their handling of a lawsuit on the credibility of voters’ register.