The European Union (EU) through the Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Programme (ARAP) has launched the Ghana Legal Web Library for the Judicial Service.
Web Library is an online repository and resource centre of all legislation and judicial decisions made in Ghana.
The platform provides the official and most comprehensive access to all legal documents available to all stakeholders and users of the judicial system in Ghana.
Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, launching the Web Library said the portal would provide instant access to all the content that was previously only available in the Supreme Court Library and more.
He said the electronic resource would improve access to key judicial decisions, laws and information that would guide judges, lawyers, students and all relevant stakeholders in Ghana’s judicial system.
“It will also enable us to make these resources available at a much cheaper cost and instantaneously to all who require access to them,” he said.
The Chief Justice said the web-based law library would greatly enhance access to justice while improving the administration and dispensing of same.
He commended the European Union, the Web Library Management Committee at the Judicial Service and the Council for Law Reporting who jointly worked on the project.
Mr Annin-Yeboah said the launch of the web-based library was another step forward in the Service’s ongoing efforts to harness technology to improve the delivery of justice in the country.
He said previous efforts such as the Electronic Case Management System, Electronic Case Distribution System and the current e-Justice System were also evidence of their commitment to the achievement of this aim.
“Through technology, we intend to play our expected role of making justice accessible to all who need it,” he added.
Ms Diana Acconcia, EU Ambassador to Ghana, said the Ghana Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability Programme (ARAP, €20m) was designed with the objective to support the reforms.
The Ambassador said over the last five years, the Programme worked directly with the Office of the Attorney General, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Legal Aid Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Economic and Organised Crime Office, the Ghana Police Service, and the Judiciary and Judicial Service.
She said with the Judicial Service, important outcomes were achieved over the years on different streams of work.
Under the component, with the Judicial Training Institute on evidence disclosure in criminal cases, over 350 judges and magistrates were trained last year alone, the Ghana News Agency gathered.
Ms Acconcia said the programme also had a refresher course on environmental law for judges, who faced first-hand, the degradation of nature with its related crimes.
She said one key issue the programme focused on was the fight against illegal mining and its devastating impact on the environment.
“We work to establish a corruption complaint mechanism allowing citizens to lodge complaints easily, and ensuring that reported cases are handled effectively,” she said.
Ms Acconcia said information management systems were powerful instruments for a more accountable and transparent government.
She said access to justice was a fundamental human right and a top priority for the EU all over the world.
Acconcia said easy access to legislation, judicial decisions, supporting rules and regulations was essential to facilitate adjudication within a reasonable time.
“In particular, we understood the difficulties in accessing key laws, court judgements and related judicial documents in Ghana for the Bench, the Bar and court users,” she added.