From Richard Attenkah & David Fianko-Okyere, Tema
Justice Vida Akoto Bamfo, a Supreme Court Judge, last Friday commissioned a new Land Court near the premises of the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) Magistrate Court, to take care of all land cases in the Tema Metropolitan area.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, commended the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and TDC for contributing towards the establishment of court in the Harbour city.
The Chief Justice said the judiciary was the major implementing institution in land administration reforms in Ghana, saying land cases accounted for more than 80% of all new civil cases in the courts, which include investment-related, stool, skin and family land cases.
This, she continued, makes land litigation and other related issues central in land administration. In view of this, she said the high courts had piled up cases, as a result of which the Judicial Service, in 2008, established land courts as a specialised division of the High Court in Accra, which has made tremendous improvement over the years.
According to her, it had became necessary for the establishment of a Land Court in Tema, which is the industrial hub of Ghana, to help deliver justice, and reduce the rising number of land suits before the two High Courts in Tema.
She noted: “The main objective for the land court in Tema is to ensure speedy, efficient, and cost-effective resolution of land cases in the metropolis.”
She urged the presiding judge at the court to be firm and respectful in her duties, since lawyers and litigants who will appear before her may slacken her delivery with unnecessary applications for adjournment, adding, “This way, people who come to the court will leave with satisfaction.”
The commissioning ceremony, which was attended by lawyers, judges, and the Tema Traditional Council, had a mock sitting for about fifteen minutes, which saw two cases being adjudicated.
On his part, the Managing Director of the TDC, Mr. Joe Abbey, said the corporation deemed it fit to improve access to justice in the Tema Metropolis, hence its decision to host the land court.
Mr. Abbey said the TDC would use the court to solve some of the cases of unauthorised developments within the township, saying “the corporation’s attempts at ensuring order in that direction sometimes ends up in confrontation and scuffles.
Currently, the TDC has about 80 cases pending before the law courts. Out of these, three quarters had to do with purely land allocation.”
He was convinced that the Land Court’s judgments would bring order, as the TDC was convinced that the establishment of the court would help to clear the backlog of land cases involving the Corporation, which are still pending before the courts.
The Tema Mantse, Osonga Nii Adjei Kraku II, pledged the traditional leaders’ support to the judiciary in establishing the court.
He thanked the TDC and the judiciary for the joint effort in making the land court, a reality.
Mr. Richard Akpokavie, who represented the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), assured the Chief Justice of the Association’s readiness to help the delivery of justice in the city.