CDD organizes dissemination workshop on local justice
In addition to both parties being heard, respondents also said it was important that the other party accepts the verdict of the judge as the truth for justice to be fully established. The above is part of research findings released by the two institutions on local justice provision in Ghana at the Fiesta Royale Hotel last Friday.
Speaking at the workshop, Prof Richard Crook, Lead Researcher from the Institute of Development Studies said these ideas challenge stereotypes about popular beliefs that people think of justice in purely “customary” or “traditional” terms.
“The Magistrate courts do offer the kind of justice people want and they are quite popular. The Magistrate courts are offering very informal kind of justice, sometimes they are in the local language, the judge is a facilitator, helps the litigants to bring their cases out and offer the enforceable legal remedy that people want. As a result, they have thousands of cases to deal with all the time, and this poses a severe challenge to the legal system in Ghana, “he said.
Speaking at the workshop, the Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, Prof. Gyimah-Boadi said the research agenda is driven by the observation that in much of Africa, things that ought to work, or indeed used to work, do not work at all or don’t work anymore. The research is therefore aimed at “getting a better understanding of policies and programs that work in African countries and societies to help guide the development of similar policies, especially where such policies and programs are intended to work for the poor, the disadvantaged in those societies.”
The research studied justice processes in the District Magistrate Courts, the CHRAJ District Mediation Services, and the Customary Land Secretariat’s Dispute Resolution Committees. The study is also trying to ascertain how Ghanaians assess the performance of these local justice institutions in terms of their, legitimacy, effectiveness and accessibility.
The workshop was attended by legal practitioners, members of the bench, land administrators donor partners and the media.