We need at least 20 Judges at Supreme Court – Chief Justice justifies letter to Akufo-Addo


Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo has justified the need to appoint more judges to the Supreme Court.

According to her, the Apex Court would require at least 20 judges, meaning five more would be needed to add to the current 15, to expedite actions on the increasing number of cases at the Supreme Court.

In a letter dated February 7, 2024, obtained by Starrfm.com.gh, addressed to the President, the Chief Justice offered the basis for the addition of more judges at the Apex Court and nominated five individuals for consideration.

In the 16-page letter, the Chief Justice stated that having at least 20 Justices at all times at the Supreme Court would ensure more effective and speedier hearings, higher quality decision-making, and reduce pressure on the Justices of the apex court.

The letter provided statistical analysis of the current workload of the Supreme Court and compared the number of cases from 2019 to the present.

“This paper provides justification for increasing the number of Supreme Court Judges from fifteen (15) to a minimum of twenty (20), including the Chief Justice.

“It acknowledges extensive calls for reducing the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to lessen its workload and enhance oversight of Ghana’s constitutional order. However, this paper does not delve into that discussion as jurisdiction reduction requires constitutional amendments.

“The paper argues that the policy rationale behind reducing jurisdiction or appointing more Judges should simply aim to align the supply of judicial services with the demand, measured by new cases, pending cases, and backlog disposals.

“The primary background for appointing Supreme Court Judges should thus be to match the Court’s workload and output with the nation’s justice needs,” the CJ’s letter to the President stated.

Stand-alone panels

To reinforce her point, Justice Torkornoo said increasing the number to 20 judges would enable the Supreme Court to form stand-alone panels as needed.

“Currently, the Supreme Court of Ghana sits three days a week on alternate weeks due to its high case volume.

“Two days are dedicated to panel sittings, and one day to single judge sittings,” the CJ explained.

“Therefore, the Supreme Court sits twelve times a month. On any given day, it handles a minimum of 15 cases, thus managing at least forty-five matters weekly, or approximately one hundred and eighty matters monthly.

“These numbers may rise when including judgments and rulings.

“With the current limited number of 15 Justices, including the Chief Justice, and frequent recusals due to instances where judges have previously been involved in cases at the Court of Appeal or presided over trial appeals, it is impractical to form two stand-alone panels each week.

“Thus, panels often need reconstitution to allow judges to leave and others to join,” the CJ stated.


The CJ stated, “For these reasons, the Chief Justice respectfully requests His Excellency the President to consider appointing an additional five (5) Judges to the Supreme Court to expedite case resolutions and the timely delivery of final decisions for the nation.

“This would bring the current number of Supreme Court Justices to 20, including the Chief Justice.

“This number would allow the formation of stand-alone panels of 5 and 4 judges to handle cases on any given day, depending on the jurisdiction exercised by the court each week, thereby reducing the need for frequent panel reconstitutions during daily sittings.”


The nominees are Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, Justice Asante from the ECOWAS Court, Justice Angelina Mensah Homiah, and Justice Pamela Addo Koranteng.

The request has since elicited mixed reactions from the public, with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and some government experts opposing the move.


Content by: Murtala Inusah

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