Justice Sophia Akuffo is the new Chief Justice of Ghana. President Akufo Addo officially named the longtime Judge of the Supreme Court to serve as the CJ (Chief Justice), replacing CJ Georgina Wood who has served the country incredibly well during her time in office.
The position of the CJ is without a doubt, a very prestigious post usually occupied by citizens who have proven their worth in terms of patriotism, vast knowledge of national and global laws as well as an undented integrity. All over the world, Chief Justices are regarded in high esteem and much is expected of them in terms of the execution of their quite delicate role – hence the importance of selecting the very best for the job.
For Justice Akuffo, her appointment was done 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.
Having passed all the necessary requirements for the position, 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 led judgments in landmark cases. Ms. Akuffo however, beat all 11 to bag the prestigious position.
After serving for the past two decades, there are some interesting facts everyone ought to know about the new Chief Justice of the nation, they include the following:
1. Justice Sophia Akuffo was born on the 20th of December 1949. The 67-year-old holds the fourth highest position in the country after the President, Vice-President, and Speaker of Parliament.
2. Disregarding her career, the newly appointed chief Justice is originally from Akropong-Akuapem in the Eastern Region. She is a mother who has just one daughter. Akuffo also has two grandchildren.
3. The new CJ is a well-educated woman who has a master’s degree in Law (LLM) from the Prestigious University of Harvard in the United States of America (USA). She also trained as a lawyer under President Nana Akufo-Addo’s chambers.
4. She has been a member of the Governing Committee of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute and Chairperson of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Task Force.
5. Justice Sophia Akuffo is the second most senior Justice on the Supreme Court bench after Justice William Atuguba. The most senior, Atuguba, was not picked as a result of the fact that his retirement is very close.
6. 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. It is also interesting to note that Ms. Akuffo was appointed to the office of the Supreme Court by former president Jerry John Rawlings, on 30th November 1995.
7. 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 and was re-elected, until 2014 when she served as the Vice-President.
8. Justice Sophia Akuffo is a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council. Also, she has served humanity as a member of several organizations, including the Committee of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute.
9. The Chief Justice has some publications to her name which have been lauded by scholars and professionals in the country. The 67-year-old authored ‘The Application of Information & Communication Technology in the Judicial Process – the Ghanaian Experience, a presentation to the African Judicial Network Ghana (2002).’
10. The Montie 3 case is one of the famous cases in which Justice Akuffo is associated with. It was quite a serious case which was highly publicised at the time of the incident as it involved three media personalities who were arraigned for issuing death threats on Supreme court judges over their handling of a lawsuit on the credibility of voters’ register.
In all, it is expected that Akuffo would serve the nation well as Chief Justice. Don’t you think so?