The office of the Chief Justice is one of the highly ranked positions in the country. It is occupied by the topmost judge of the Supreme Court of Ghana. The Chief Justices heads the judiciary and facilitates its administration and supervision. So, who is the Chief Justice of Ghana?
Several judges are appointed to the Supreme Court, and among them, one is set to serve as the Chief Justice of Ghana. So, how many Supreme Court judges are in Ghana? The Supreme Court allows for a minimum of 10 appointed judges to serve on the bench.
List of Ghana’s Chief Justices since 1957
For the 64 years of independence, 14 judges served as Ghana's Chief Justice. The position is usually occupied by either a male or female Chief Justice of Ghana.
Here are the names of Ghana's Chief Justices since independence, together with the name of the current chief justice of Ghana.
- Sir Kobina Arku Korsah
- Julius Sarkodie-Addo
- Edward Akuffo Addo
- Edmund Alexander Lanquaye Bannerman
- Samuel Azu Crabbe
- Fred Kwasi Apaloo
- Ernest Nee Pobee Sowah
- Philip Edward Archer
- Isaac Kobina Abban
- Edward Kwame Wiredu
- George Kingsley Acquah
- Georgina Theodara Wood
- Sophia Abena Boafa Akuffo
- Kwasi Anin Yeboah
1. Sir Kobina Arku Korsah, Esq 1957-1963
Kobina Arku Korsah is a legendary name in the history of Ghana, as he was the first Chief Justice of Ghana. He served in the office from 1956, one year before Ghana gained independence and was known as Gold coast.
Gold Coast was declared independent in 1957 and changed its name to Ghana. Sir Kobina Arku Korsah retained the position, making him the first Chief Justice of Ghana. He left the office for his successor Julius Sarkodie-Addo.
2. Julius Sarkodie-Addo, Esq 1964-1966
Julius Sarkodie-Addo was appointed as the second Chief Justice in 1964 by President Kwame Nkrumah. However, he was forcefully removed by the military in 1966. His removal resulted from the February 1966 coup that overthrew Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Julius Sarkodie-Addo passed on in January 1972, Accra.
3. Edward Akuffo Addo 1966-1970
Edwin Akuffo became the Chief Justice of Ghana after being a Supreme Court Judge. He was appointed by the National Liberation Council (NLC) in 1966 and served as Chief Justice for four years. After leaving the office of Chief Justice in 1970, Edward Akuffo became the president of the Republic of Ghana.
4. Edmund Alexander Lanquaye Bannerman, Esq 1970-1972
Edmund Bannerman was a Supreme Court judge in 1970. In the same year, he was the acting Chief Justice after Edward Akuffo became president of Ghana. He was officially appointed as the Chief Justice of Ghana in 1971 but was removed in 1972 by the National Redemption Council after the January 1972 coup. He died in June 1983 while he was 67 years old.
5. Samuel Azu Crabbe, Esq 1973-1977
The barrister, solicitor, and jurist received his appointment as Chief Justice of Ghana by the National Redemption Council in 1973. He served in the position for four years, then became Fred Kwasi's predecessor. Crabbe received an award from the International Association of Trial Lawyers in 1977, recognizing his achievements. He died at the age of 86 in Accra, Ghana.
6. Fred Kwasi Apaloo, Esq 1977-1986
Fred Kwasi succeeded Samuel Azu Crabbe in 1977. He was appointed by General Acheampong of the Supreme Military Council. Fred Kwasi remained the Chief Justice of Ghana after the nation resumed democratic leadership under Hilla Limann in September 1979.
The barrister and judge served for nine years before retiring in 1986 while 65 years old. In the history of Ghana, he is the only Supreme Court judge who served in the first three republics.
7. Ernest Nee Pobee Sowah, Esq 1986-1990
Ernest Sowah succeeded Fred Kwasi Apaloo and was appointed Chief Justice of Ghana by President Jerry Rawlings in 1986. He served during the military era of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). Although he was past the compulsory retirement age, PNDC had him as Chief Justice for four years. He left the position to Philip Edward Archer in 1990.
8. Philip Edward Archer, Esq 1991-1995
The retired judge had a befitting career in Ghana’s judicial service. He was appointed registrar general, judicial secretary, High Court judge, and Supreme Court judge while in the judiciary. Phillip Edward Archer retired from being a judge in 1983, but that did not limit his capacity to become the Chief Justice.
In 1991, President Jerry Rawlings appointed him Chief Justice of Ghana. He served in the position until 1995, after which he retired. His service to Ghana earned him the Order of the Star of Ghana honours. Phillip Edward Archer died in Ghana on May 10, 2002.
9. Isaac Kobina Abban, Esq 1995-2001
Isaac Kobina was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ghana after rejoining the Ghanaian judicial service in 1993. He previously served as the Chief Justice of Seychelles from 1990 to 1993. On his return, President Jerry Rawlings appointed him as the Chief Justice of Ghana on February 22, 1995. He died on April 21, 2001, in Accra due to health complications.
10. Edward Kwame Wiredu, 2001-2003
Chief Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu was an appointment of John Kufuor in 2001. He served in the Fourth Republic for two years. His time as Chief Justice was short-lived as he retired in May 2003 due to health reasons.
Although his term was short, Edward Kwame Wiredu was known for introducing Ghana's Fast Track High Courts, Judicial Institute, and Alternate Dispute Resolution. He died at the age of 73 on January 31, 2008.
11. George Kingsley Acquah, 2003-2007
George Kingsley is a John Kufuor appointee who served as the Chief Justice of Ghana until his death. He assumed office after succeeding Edward Kwame Wiredu on July 4, 2003. Unfortunately, he died of cancer while still serving as Chief Justice on March 25, 2007.
The former Chief Justice was a High Court judge in September 1989 and then proceeded to become an Appeal Court judge in June 1994. He was appointed Supreme Court judge after one year in the Appeal court. He died in Accra on March 25, 2007, while 65 years old.
12. Georgina Theodara Wood, 2007-2017
Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood was appointed as the first female chief justice of Ghana in May 2007. On June 15, 2007, she was sworn into office by President John Kufuor and became the 12th Chief Justice of Ghana.
Before the appointment, Georgina wood worked in the judicial service for 35 years. She was a District Magistrate in 1974 and rose through the ranks to become a presiding judge of the court of Appeal in 1991. Georgina Wood swore in four presidents within the ten years she was Chief Justice of Ghana.
Her tenure as Chief Justice ended when she retired in June 2017, creating room for Sophia Akuffo. An interesting fact about Georgina Wood is, President John Kufuor, appointed her as Chief Justice on November 12, 2002. But her Ladyship didn't take up the offer and instead declined the president's appointment.
13. Sophia Abena Boafa Akuffo, 2017-2020
Sofia Akuffo was appointed by Nana Akuffo Addo on May 11, 2017. Her long service to the judiciary validated her appointment as a Supreme Court judge. She was in the position for 22 years, i.e. from 1995 to 2017, before becoming Chief Justice.
Sofia Akuffo was sworn in as the 13th Chief justice by President Akuffo Addo on June 19, 2017. She was the Chief Justice of Ghana 2018 all through to December 2019, when she made her last ruling. While exiting the position, Sofia Akuffo expressed her gratitude to the late and existing presidents for making her career a success.
She thanked the late John Atta Mills, the late Jerry Rawlings, John Kufuor, John Mahama for his support, and Nana Akufo Addo for the appointment.
14. Kwasi Anin Yeboah, 2020- Date
Who is the current chief justice of Ghana? Anin Yeboah now serves as the current chief justice of Ghana after succeeding Sophia Akuffo. He was nominated in December 2019 by president Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo.
Anin Yeboah assumed office on January 7, 2020, and his appointment resumed male leadership in the judicial service after 13 years of female leadership.
Supreme Court justices in Ghana
The Supreme Court supports gender equality and allows for the appointment of both male and female judges. Who are the 7 Supreme Court justices in Ghana? They include:
- Jones Dotse
- Paul Baffoe
- Yaw Appau
- Gabriel Pwamang
- Samuel K. Marful-Sau
- Agnes M.A Dordzie
- Nene Abayaateye Ofoe Amegatcher
The position of Chief Justice of Ghana has been occupied by 14 judges ever since Ghana gained its independence in 1957. The different individuals have served various terms. Some were in the position for two years, while others served for ten years. There has been a gender balance of male and female Chief Justices of Ghana over the years.
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