The Judicial Service of Ghana has opened a new District Magistrate Court at Nadowli in the Nadowli-Kaleo District of the Upper West Region.
The new District Magistrate Court, which was opened last Monday, brings to five the number of district courts in the region but one of the only two that are housed in their own permanent buildings.
While the other permanent one is at Nandom, the remaining three at Wa, Jirapa and Tumu are operating on rented premises.
The new court, which is complete with the necessary staff, was funded by the Nadowli- Kaleo District Assembly. A judge is, however, yet to be posted to the facility.
Before the opening of the new court, citizens had to travel all the way to Wa to seek justice for all manner of cases and issues.
Justice at doorsteps
Speaking on behalf of the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, the Regional Supervising High Court Judge, Yusif Asibey, described the opening of the court as a memorable occasion for the people, saying it was in line with the Judiciary’s avowed goal of bringing justice to their doorsteps.
Justice Anin Yeboah said now the people had a court in their backyard, where they could have cases in civil matters like land disputes, criminal matters like stealing and juvenile and family tribunal involving juveniles, marital and maintenance issues being settled
He stated that fees, property rates, levies and failure to comply with the assembly’s bye-laws could also be heard at the court.
The Chief Justice, however, recommended alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and admonished people litigating over the ownership of land to work with it to avert the huge sums of money spent and the long spell of time wasted.
He noted that there were many land cases which had stretched for over 20 years with colossal sums of money spent in the process.
Justice Anin Yeboah said that the ADR provided a cheaper and quicker process in resolving such cases, adding that judgments of the ADR was enforceable just like the judgment of any court.
He, therefore, urged the traditional rulers and elders to impress upon litigants that there was a cheaper, affordable and less time-consuming alternative in the ADR, which was available at the courts.
Firm and decisive
The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, advised that the judgment of the court should be firm and decisive, with equal treatment to all parties involved in any litigation. Dr Bin Salih charged all the other district assemblies to construct courts in their jurisdiction to avoid the high cost people incurred in travelling long distances to seek justice.
The District Chief Executive of Nadowli- Kaleo, Katherine T. Lankono, commended the chiefs and elders for donating the land that had enabled them to put up the building.