Chief Justice of Ghana: List of all chief justices in Ghana since independence

Chief Justice of Ghana: List of all chief justices in Ghana since independence

The Chief Justice of Ghana is the senior-most officer of the judiciary in the country. The CJ is tasked with numerous responsibilities, including presiding over the Supreme Court proceedings and overseeing the country's Court of Appeal. Since attaining independence, Ghana has had several Chief Justices.

Chief Justices Kwasi Anin Yeboah (L), Georgina Theodora Wood and Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo (R)
Chief Justices Kwasi Anin Yeboah (L), Georgina Theodora Wood (C), and Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo (R). Photo: @Datanomics, @Archives_gh, @primanewsghana on X(Twitter) (modified by author)
Source: UGC


The Ghanaian president appoints the chief justice after consulting the Council of State and receiving consent from the Ghanaian Parliament. In addition to having a strong sense of ethics and a track record of integrity, a candidate must have practised law for at least fifteen years to be eligible for nomination.

Who has served as the Chief Justice of Ghana?

The chief justice serves as the Ghanaian Judicial Council's chairperson. The council is expected to recommend judicial reforms to the Ghanaian government to improve the efficiency and standard of justice administration. Who are the 15 Supreme Court justices in Ghana? Here is a look at the people who have held the CJ position since independence in 1957.

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Name Period
1Sir Arku Korsah, Esq.1956–1963
2J. Sarkodie-Addo, Esq.1964–1966
3Edward Akuffo Addo1966–1970
4E.A.L. Bannerman, Esq.1970–1972
5Samuel Azu Crabbe, Esq.1973–1977
6F.K. Apaloo, Esq.1977–1986
7E.N.P. Sowah, Esq.1986–1990
8Philip Edward Archer, Esq.1991–1995
9Isaac Kobina Abban, Esq. 1995–2001
10Edward Kwame Wiredu2001–2003
11George Kingsley Acquah2003–2007
12Georgina Theodora Wood2007–2017
13Sophia A. B. Akuffo2017–2020
14Anin Yeboah2020–2023
15Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo2023–Present

Sir Arku Korsah, Esq (1956–1963)

Sir Kobina Arku Korsah became Ghana's first African Chief Justice (then known as Gold Coast) on 18 April 1956. Before his appointment, he was one of two Ghanaians appointed to the Legislative Council by the then-governor of the country, Sir Alan Burns.

After the 1962 Kulungugu attack on President Kwame Nkrumah, Sir Arku Korsah presided over the trial proceedings of five defendants. The trial ended with three of the five accused persons being found not guilty, an adjudication that did not go down particularly well with President Nkrumah, who kicked him out of the CJ position.

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Julius Sarkodie-Addo, Esq (1964–1966)

President Kwame Nkrumah appointed Julius Sarkodie-Addo as the country's second chief justice in 1964. However, he was forcefully removed by the army in 1966. His expulsion emanated from the February 1966 coup that overthrew Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Julius Sarkodie-Addo passed on in January 1972 in Accra.

Edward Akuffo Addo (1966–1970)

Black and white photos of Edward Akuffo
Edward Akuffo Addo is posing for a photo while in a black suit. Photo: @AnsahQwamena, @Serwaa_Amihere on X(Twitter) (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Edward Akuffo Addo was a Ghanaian lawyer and politician. He was a member of the famous 'Big Six' leaders of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and one of the Ghanaian founding fathers who fought for the country's independence.

After serving as a Supreme Court Judge, Edward Akuffo became the Chief Justice of Ghana. He was chosen by the National Liberation Council (NLC) in 1966 and served as the CJ for four years. After leaving the office of Chief Justice in 1970, Edward Akuffo became the president of Ghana.

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Edmund Alexander Lanquaye Bannerman, Esq (1970–1972)

Edmund Bannerman was a Supreme Court judge in 1970. In the same year, he served as the acting Chief Justice after Edward Akuffo ascended to the presidency. Edmund was officially appointed as the Chief Justice of Ghana in 1971.

He served between 1970 and 1972 and was the fourth person to hold this position since Ghana's independence in 1957. However, he was abolished from office by the National Redemption Council, the military government that took power after the overthrow of 13 January 1972.

Samuel Azu Crabbe, Esq (1973–1977)

Samuel Azu Crabbe (L) in a white shirt, and him in a stripped tie (R)
Samuel Azu Crabbe in his youthful years (L), and him posing against a dark background (R). Photo: @LSELibrary, @SuperhighwayBot on X(Twitter) (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Samuel Azu Crabbe was a barrister, jurist, and solicitor. He was designated Chief Justice of Ghana by the National Redemption Council in 1973 and worked for four years. Crabbe was awarded by the International Association of Trial Lawyers in 1977, recognising his achievements. He died at the age of 86 in Accra, Ghana.

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Fred Kwasi Apaloo, Esq (1977–1986)

F.K. Apaloo is smilling for a photo in an office room
F.K. Apaloo is wearing a wig and a white bib. Photo: @KetaVibes on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Frederick Kwasi Apaloo was a renowned Ghanaian barrister and judge. He served as the country's Chief Justice between 1977 and 1986. He was appointed Kenya's Chief Justice. He held the position from 1993 to 1995.

Fred Kwasi succeeded Samuel Azu Crabbe in 1977. General Acheampong of the Supreme Military Council appointed him. Kwasi remained the Chief Justice of Ghana after the state recommenced democratic leadership under Hilla Limann in September 1979.

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).

Despite being past the mandatory retirement age, the PNDC appointed him Chief Justice for four years—a highly contentious appointment.

Philip Edward Archer, Esq (1991–1995)

Philip Edward Archer had a decorated career in Ghana's judicial service. He held the positions of Supreme Court Judge, Judicial Secretary, High Court Judge, and Registrar General amid his distinguished career. The former CJ retired from a judgeship in 1983, but that did not limit his capacity to become the Chief Justice.

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President Jerry Rawlings named him Ghana's Chief Justice in 1991. He held the role until 1995 when he decided to retire. He was awarded the Order of the Star of Ghana for his services to the country. Phillip Edward Archer died in Ghana on 10 May 2002.

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 22 February 1995.

Justice Abban was scheduled to retire for health-related concerns on 1 May 2001. He passed on a few days before his retirement at 67.

Edward Kwame Wiredu (2001–2003)

Edward Kwame Wiredu in white bib
Edward Kwame Wiredu is wearing a brown wig (L), and he is in a light grey wig. Photo: @modernghana (modified by author)
Source: UGC

President John Kufuor appointed Chief Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu in 2001. He served in the CJ position for two years before retiring due to health concerns. Before being appointed, He served on the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court.

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While his reign was brief, Edward Kwame Wiredu is remembered for establishing Ghana's Fast Track High Courts, the Judicial Institute, and Alternate Dispute Resolution. He died at the age of 73 on 31 January 2008.

George Kingsley Acquah (2003–2007)

George Kingsley Acquah is wearing a white wig and bib
Late Justice George Kingsley Acquah is sitting on a brown and black chair. Photo: @modernghana (modified by author)
Source: UGC

George Kingsley was appointed by President John Kufuor and served as the country's Chief Justice until he died in 2007. He assumed office after succeeding Edward Kwame Wiredu on 4 July 2003. Unfortunately, he died of an ailment while in office.

The former Chief Justice was appointed High Court judge in September 1989 and became an Appellate Court judge in June 1994. Finally, he was appointed Supreme Court judge after one year in the Appeal court. He was 65 years old at the time of his demise.

Georgina Theodora Wood (2007–2017)

Georgina Theodora Wood is in a white bib
Georgina Theodora Wood is wearing a grey and red coat. Photo: @ACCRA_GHANA, @ghonetv on X(Twitter) (modified by author)
Source: UGC

She was the first female chief justice of Ghana. Theodora was named Ghana's first female Chief Justice in May 2007. She became Ghana's 12th Chief Justice on 15 June 2007, when President John Kufuor swore her into office.

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Georgina had 35 years of experience in the judiciary before her nomination. She was appointed District Magistrate in 1974 and became chief justice of the Court of Appeal in 1991.

During her ten-year tenure, she inaugurated four Ghanaian presidents. Her time as Chief Justice expired when she stepped out in June 2017, making way for Sophia Akuffo.

Sophia Abena Boafa Akuffo (2017–2020)

Sophia A. B. Akuffo is wearing a headband (L), and her in a white wig (R)
Sophia A. B. Akuffo is wearing an African print dress (L) and is on a pulpit in her work outfit (R). Photo: @NsiaYaw2, @SIKAOFFICIAL1 on X(Twitter) (modified by author)
Source: UGC

She was the Chief Justice of Ghana in 2018. Sophia was nominated on 11 May 2017 by Nana Akuffo Addo. Her extensive judicial experience played a significant role in her appointment as Chief Justice. She had been a Supreme Court judge for 22 years before her appointment.

Sofia Akuffo, one of the female chief justices of Ghana, was recruited as the 13th Chief Justice of Ghana by President Akuffo Addo on 19 June 2017. She served until 2020, when the next Chief Justice succeeded her.

Kwasi Anin Yeboah (2020–2023)

Kwasi Anin-Yeboah JSC is a Ghanaian judge formerly serving as the country's chief justice. Justice Anin-Yeboah was appointed Ghana's CJ by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in December 2019. He held the position of Chief Justice from 2020 to 2023.

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Anin Yeboah assumed office on 7 January 2020. This marked the first time in 13 years the office was under a male Chief Justice.

Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo (2023–Present)

Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo in a black outfit (L), and her looking on a white sheet of paper (R)
Gertrude Torkornoo is wearing a white beaded hairband (L), and she is in a white wig and bib. Photo: @GHANANEWSAGENCY, @dennislaw_ghana on X(Twitter) (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Gertrude Torkornoo serves as the current Chief Justice of Ghana. She replaced Kwasi Anin-Yeboah as Ghana's 15th Chief Justice, becoming the country's third female to serve in the position. Gertrude Torkornoo was officially sworn in as the new Chief Justice of Ghana by President Akufo-Addo on 12 June 2023.

Who is the current chief justice of Ghana?

Who is the Chief Justice of Ghana? The current Chief Justice of Ghana is Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo. She was sworn in on 12 June 2023.

How much is the Chief Justice of Ghana's salary?

The Ghanaian Chief Justice earns about GHC 32,242 ($2,598.69) monthly. This figure came after a recent salary increment that saw other countries' judicial system members get pay raises.

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What is the work of the Chief Justice in Ghana?

The Chief Justice presides over the sittings of the country's Supreme Court whenever present. They also oversee the overall administration of the Court of Appeal, of which they are the senior-most member. The CJ is also a member of the regional tribunals and an administrator of the High Court.

Who chooses the Chief Justice in Ghana?

The Chief Justice is usually appointed by the sitting president and then confirmed by the Senate. At the same time, one is not required to have served as an Associate Justice before being appointed to the position; five of the country's CJs have served as Associate Justices before their appointment.

How many Supreme Court judges are in Ghana?

The Supreme Court, according to the 1992 constitution, is composed of the Chief Justice of Ghana and at least nine additional Justices of the Supreme Court.

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The office of the Chief Justice of Ghana is essential to the country's judicial system. Since independence, various people have held positions, mostly from presidential appointments and a few due to military rule. recently published an article featuring all the regions in Ghana and their respective capitals. Establishing areas in the country ended the numerous petitions from as early as 1954. The regionalisation happened in 2019 under the presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo.

The country held a referendum to carve new regions after the president promised better governorship during his election campaign. All areas participating in the region creation referendum supported the idea. So, what are the 16 regions and their capitals? Read the article for more details.


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