Ghana’s legal system, like so many other institutions in our state, is a direct product of Ghana’s colonial past.
Ghanaian law is based upon the British Common law and extended with local traditions.
The Supreme Court of Judicature for the Gold Coast Colony was established by ordinance by the Imperial Parliament in Westminster in 1876.
It consisted of a Chief Justice and not more than four judges.
Provision was further made for a Full Court consisting of the Chief Justice and one or two judges which acted as a Court of Appeal sitting in Accra and Lagos, which was then administered as part of the Gold Coast Colony. The Supreme Court was vested with the same jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters as was exercisable by the Court of Queen’s Bench, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Court of Exchequer.
It can be properly said that the establishment of the Supreme Court constituted the commencement of the legal profession in our country. Hence the Bar’s valid claim to be the most senior of the professions in the nation.
Today Ghana has the following courts; District courts, Circuit Courts, High Courts, Court of appeal and the Supreme Court and several specialized courts like the Juvenile court, lands court, fast track court and court of arbitration. Ghana is signatory to several international courts and treaties on judicial basis.
In Ghana lawyers can charge hourly rates like in most European countries but is not against the law and quit common to give a fee in percentage of the value of winning the case. Don’t confuse this with the American “no-cure no pay”, because legal costs plus transportation will always be charged.
Despite the fact that Ghana has one of the best laws systems of whole Africa, the system doesn’t work like in Europe. Cases can endlessly being deferred, files can get missing and sometimes your case can be transferred several times to different judges.
Despite the image of the system “being corrupt’ in most times the system really works, but be prepared to invest TIME.
Settlements will never give you what you are supposed to get but are mostly the best way out of a legal problem.