The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) held a public forum to discuss the practicalities of adjudicating election disputes in Ghana on Friday the 6th of July, 2012. The forum follows from one of the LRC’s ongoing initiatives, “Strengthening the Judiciary to Deal with Human Rights Abuses during Election 2012.”
At the forum, the First Judicial Secretary of the Judicial Service, Mr. Justice John Nabarese spoke about the practicalities of initiating an election case making reference to the Judicial Service’s 2008 Manual and Statutes on Elections Adjudicating in Ghana. The Manual which is in the process of being updated is expected to be released soon.
Justice Nabarese was confident that the Judiciary was ready and was capable of handling any disputes that arise from the 2012’s elections, be it presidential or parliamentary. He also addressed some of the problems that have plagued the process in the past. Notable among the concerns that had affected the speedy adjudication of cases in the past was the improper filing of cases. He mentioned in particular the commencement of cases by a writ of summons rather than a petition which he said accounted for approximately 70% of election cases being dismissed. Justice Nabarese also answered questions from other participants regarding the process.
Participants at the forum included representatives from different areas of the legal community, the media, and civil society groups. Questions and discussion centered around the specific courts in which to institute election cases, the difference between the terms “election dispute” and “election offence”, the difference between a writ of summons and a petition, the contents of a writ of summons and a petition, to name a few.