Board of Governors, Achimota School vrs Nii Ako Nortei II & 2 Ors: A Case Of Judicial Sympathy Elevated to Principle of Law?

Board of Governors, Achimota School vrs Nii Ako Nortei II & 2 Ors: A Case Of Judicial Sympathy Elevated to Principle of Law?

By: Isaac Kwadwo Ankah (Associate, A-Partners@Law)

 

“…The justice to be dispensed is justice within the law and not one of sympathy. Judicial sympathy, however plausible can never be elevated to become a principle of law”

– Anin Yeboah JSC in Amosa (No.1) v Korboe (No.1)[1]

 

In Harley v Ejura Farms (Ghana) Ltd[2] Taylor J (as he then was) noted: “Courts …dispense justice in accordance with three and only three yardsticks: statute law, case law and the well-known practice of our courts.”

With these quotes, the writer delves into the recent supreme court decision of the Board Of Governors, Achimota School vrs. Nii Ako Nortei II & 2 Ors supra, in which case, by a 4-1 majority decision the Supreme Court, among others, clothed the Appellant School’s Board of Governors (Achimota School) with legal capacity to pursue its suit pending before the High Court in spite of the clear and unambiguous letter of the law which provides otherwise.

This piece focuses on the issue of whether the appellant school was and ought to have been statutorily clothed with the requisite legal capacity to sue. That said, it does not purport or attempt to elucidate the other pertinent legal issues which arose in the said case since a determination by the Court on said issues were predicated on a positive determination that there existed capacity to sue.

This article is structured into three (3) parts: Part one (1) deals with the facts, holding, and the reasoning of the court. Part two (2) covers a brief review of the principle undergirding capacity to sue and Part three (3) focuses on the common law principle of interpretation, casus omissus, and its application to the instant case. The writer will then conclude this part by expressing his disagreement with the Supreme Court, relative to the Court’s invocation of cassus omissus in clothing the appellant with capacity when there was none whatsoever.

It is the respectful submission of the author that the court’s reasoning and conclusion on the capacity issue is akin to elevating judicial sympathy, previously frowned upon, into a principle of law. In this regard, the lone dissentient of Pwamang JSC on the capacity matter is most refreshing.

 

Facts

The 1st Respondent stool obtained a judgment in its favour against the Lands Commission (3rd defendant), claiming that he represented the original owners from whom the land was acquired by the colonial government. He contended that the land that formed part of the reserved land for Achimota School had not been used for the purpose for which it was acquired and that, the original owners had taken adverse possession of the land for several years back without any challenge by the Lands Commission. He, therefore, prayed the court to grant a perpetual injunction against the Lands Commission and their privies and to order that he recovers possession of the land.

The Lands Commission wrote to the Appellant school, two years later informing the Appellant school about the judgment and the need for the school to take steps to set same aside since said judgment was procured fraudulently.

The Appellant school, the Lands Commission, and the Attorney General made various failed attempts at setting aside and vacating the said judgment on the grounds that it was injurious to the interest of Achimota School. The Attorney General, as principal legal adviser to the government, then issued a writ of summons against the 1st Respondent stool and 2nd Defendant seeking to set aside said judgment. The suit was dismissed.

The Appellant school acting by its Board of Governors initiated a fresh suit against the 1st and 2nd Respondents. The school sought to have the said judgment set aside principally, on the grounds that the judgment was procured fraudulently.  The school further argued that the land in respect of which the adverse judgment was given is vested in the Appellant by virtue of Section 29 of the Achimota School Ordinance (CAP 114) so the judgment procured against the Lands Commission was not binding on it.

The 1st Respondent filed a motion for summary dismissal of the case on the grounds that the matters appellant was seeking to litigate had already been canvassed in the earlier attempts to set aside the judgment and pronounced upon by courts of competent jurisdiction so it was an abuse of the court’s process to seek to re-litigate them. The Appellant’s capacity to institute the action was also challenged on the grounds that it is not a juristic person. The trial court dismissed the motion, but on appeal to the Court of Appeal, the Court upheld the arguments of law canvassed by the 1st Respondent and summarily dismissed that suit.

It is against the ruling of the Court of Appeal, reversing the trial court’s ruling that the Appellant School’s Board of Governors to appealed to the Supreme Court.

The issue (among others) which the Court was invited to determine was whether the corporate personality of the Appellants [the Board of Governors] acquired under CAP 114 was completely lost by the repeal of CAP 114? What about the rights and proprietary interests that had accrued to them under CAP 114?

The Court reversed and set aside the Court of Appeal’s ruling by holding that, the Board of Governors of Achimota School was clothed with the legal capacity to mount the action. This decision was arrived at by the Court’s reliance principally, on the principle of casus omissus i.e “filling the gap” created by the existing legislation governing the administration of schools in Ghana, Education Act, 2008 (Act 778). In arriving at this decision, the Court acknowledged the need to, as the apex court of the land, be open-minded and not pander to a narrow approach to interpretation. The court, speaking through Dotse JSC, explained;

“We ask ourselves, does the plaintiff school have a body known as Board of Governors by which the institution known as Achimota School is governed and managed? The answer is a big yes, and we dare say that, as the final appellate court of this country, “we must think outside our box” and render decisions that make sense and capable of resonating with the ordinary and common people. We must also render decisions based on what is generally practiced in the country.”

For purposes of clarity, it may be useful to briefly reproduce the antecedents of the place of the Board of Governors of Achimota School in the school’s management as ably captured by Pwamang JSC in his dissenting opinion. According to the learned Judge, in 1948 the colonial government by the Achimota School Ordinance, 1948 (CAP 114)established Achimota School, as an independent educational institution. The ordinance provided for a governing council to control the affairs of the school and gave it authority to sue and be sued in matters concerning the school. The ordinance vested certain public lands that had been compulsorily acquired in the governing council of Achimota School.

In 1961, CAP 114 was repealed by the Education Act 1961 (Act 87). Act 87 has since been repealed by the Education Act, 2008 ( Act 778), the subsisting legislation on education in Ghana which governs matters relating to public basic and second cycle schools of which Achimota School is one.

The 1st Respondent’s submission against the appeal was that from the outset, the appellant did not have the capacity to initiate the action as per Act 778, CAP 114 had been repealed.

To this argument, the Appellant invited the court to resort to and rely on the Explanatory Memorandum to Act 778 as an aid to interpretation and as well as Section 34(1) (c) of the Interpretation Act, 2009 (Act 792)[3] to construe Appellant as having been clothed with capacity.

The Supreme Court’s decision in conferring capacity on the Appellant principally stemmed from the court’s reliance on the principle of casus omissus i.e filling the gap and said Section 34 of Act 792 on account of a proprietary right that was deemed to have accrued to the Appellants as a juristic person. In the Court’s view, there certainly was a gap that needed to be filled and by means of statutory interpretation, the Supreme Court filled said gap thus;

“Thus, when we consider the social conditions under which Act 778 was passed, the prevailing notorious material facts that, in Ghana at all material times, it is Boards of Governors who manage second cycle schools such as Achimota School, the only reasonable, logical and justifiable conclusion is to fill the casus omissus therein in the statute by holding that the reference therein to the Board of Governors must be construed to mean a body corporate that stands in between the schools and the Minister.”(Emphasis added)

The pertinent questions begging for answers are; was there really a gap or omission in Act 778 that needed to be filled by the apex court? Did the Legislature intend to confer on the Appellants the capacity to sue and be sued as intimated by the Court?

The Capacity Question

Capacity is important in judicial proceedings. A person without capacity cannot initiate an action in court to vindicate a right. Capacity issues are so fundamental that they can be raised at any time,  even for the first time on appeal.

The seriousness of the question of capacity was recently considered in the case of Standard Bank Offshore Trust Company Limited v National investment Bank Limited[4]when the Defendant challenged the capacity of the Plaintiff for the first time in a final appeal at the Supreme Court and argued that from the evidence on record the Plaintiff at the time it filed the writ of summons had no capacity to bring the action so the whole proceedings was void. By a unanimous decision, the court acceded to the prayer of the Defendant. Benin, JSC who authored the opinion of the court stated the law as follows at page 726 of the Report:

“A person’s capacity to sue, whether under a statute or rule of practice, must be found to be present and valid before the issuance of the writ of summons, else the writ will be declared a nullity. In the case of a company, it’s authority to bring a lawsuit is one of capacity and not standing. Capacity to sue is a very critical component of any civil litigation without which the plaintiff cannot maintain any claim…Capacity has been defined as the power to acquire and exercise legal rights. In the context of the capacity of parties to sue and be sued, to say that a party lacks such capacity is to acknowledge the existence of some procedural bar to that party’s participation in the proceedings-one that is personal to a party…..and imposed by law for one or more of various reasons of policy usually quite divorced from the substantive merits……It concerns the right to initiate or defend legal proceedings generally.”

A civil action can only be taken by a natural person or a juristic entity created and recognized by statute. Therefore, parties initiating civil proceedings must be either natural persons who are alive or personal representatives of such persons duly authorized and juristic entities recognized by statute with capacity to sue and be sued.

Thus, a Plaintiff whose capacity is challenged needs to adduce credible evidence at the earliest opportunity to satisfy the court that it had the requisite capacity to invoke the jurisdiction of the court, failing which the entire proceedings founded on such an action by a Plaintiff would be nullified should the fact of non-capacity be proved. See also Naos Holdings Incorporation v. Ghana Commercial Bank[5] and Manu v. Nsiah[6]

 Invocation of Casus Omissus?

The maxim Casus omissus permits the court to imply words into a statute in order to fill in gaps or omissions.

The use of the maxim may be justified as an interpretative tool, where the words used in an enactment appear incomplete thereby rendering the provision meaningless or result in an absurdity.

Professor Cross in his book “Statutory Interpretation[7], he states as follows; “In omitting or inserting words the judge is not really engaged in a hypothetical reconstruction of the intentions of the drafter or the legislature, but is simply making as much sense as he can of the text of the statutory provision read in its appropriate context and within the limits of the judicial role.”

Lord Denning talked of gap filing in the case of Seaford Court Estates Ltd. v Asher[8]. He qualified his statement by adding that; A Judge must not alter the material of which it is woven, but he can and should iron out the creases.”

Dealing with this subject of “casus omissus”, Crabbe JSC in his book Understanding Statutes wrote at page 61 as follows:

“An Act of Parliament may be badly drafted. That may result in an omission of certain matters in the Act, or even of a word or words. It may be the fault of the Parliamentary counsel who drafted the Bill for the Act, or the result of an amendment in Parliament, but whatever the source of the omission, effect must be given to the Act. … the intention of the legislature, however obvious it may be, must, no doubt, in the construction of statutes, be defeated where the language it has chosen compels to that result, but only where it compels to it.”See the case of London and India Docks Co. v Thames Steam Tug and Lighterage Co. Ltd[9] The rationale for such an occurrence is that, in cases where a material and relevant particular is not provided for in express terms there is a “casus omissus …The courts will refuse to apply the statute where the words do not compel the courts to supply the omission. This is in consonance with the basic principle that the function of the court is to interpret the law and not to legislate”. (emphasis added)

Atuguba JSC in his lead opinion for the majority in the case of Appiah-Ofori V AG[10]arrived at the conclusion on the issue; whether there was a gap in relation to the retiring age of the Auditor-General, that there was no gap to be filled with regard to the retiring age of the Auditor-General.  The court held that since the retirement age of the Auditor-General was not specifically provided for in the Constitution, the 60-year general retirement age for public officers under Article 199(1) of the 1992 Constitution applied to the Auditor-General. So, it was constitutional for Parliament to provide 60 years as the retirement age for the Auditor-General under section 10(4) of the Audit Service Act, 2010 (Act 584). The learned Judge reviewing decided cases on the mechanics and application of the interpretative principle casus omissus, otherwise known as filling the gap opined thus;

“There have been conflicting views as to whether it is competent for a court of law to remedy a gap or omission in a statute… in Warioba v Wassira (1998) 2 LRC 721C.A at 727-728 the Tanzanian Court of Appeal in its unanimous judgment stated per Kisanga J.A as follows; “The view that nothing should be added to a statutory provision was widely accepted by the courts in England during the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries.  Thus for instance, in R v Judge of the City of London Court[1892] 1 QB 273 at 290the Court of Appeal per Lord Esher MR) said, inter alia, that- “if the words of an Act are clear, you must follow them, even though they lead to a manifest absurdity … If the language of a statute be plain, admitting of only one meaning, the Legislature must be taken to have meant and intended what it has plainly expressed, and whatever it has in clear terms enacted must be enforced though it should lead to absurd or mischievous results. However, over the years this position has changed, and the view today is that in interpreting a statutory provision the court may, in a fit case, read words into the provision.” (emphasis added)

Indeed, Dotse JSC alluded to the existence of the controversy as to whether it was within the province of the court to import into an enactment when interpreting same. The Supreme Court speaking through him for the majority in the instant case under review quoted Lord Denning in the case of Seaford Court Estates Ltd. v Asher supra where Denning L.J, stated as follows;

It would certainly save the Judges trouble if Acts of Parliament were drafted with divine prescience and perfect clarity. In the absence of it, when a defect appears a Judge cannot simply fold his hands and blame the draftsman. He must set to work on the constructive task of finding the intention of Parliament, and he must do this not only from the language of the statute, but also from a consideration of the social conditions which gave rise to it, and of the mischief which it was passed to remedy, and then he must supplement the written word so as to give “force and life” to the intention of the legislature.(emphasis added).

Atuguba JSC in the Appiah-Ofori case supra brilliantly expounded the ambit of the court’s power to fill the gap in the following words;

“Two areas of caution, inter alia, have to be particularly observed when a court is called upon to exercise this power of filling a casus omissus.  The first is that the casus omissus may be deliberate and therefore not meant to be filled…the second is that a court should fill a casus omissus only where it is quite clear that the omission was entirely accidental and that the Legislature, had its attention at the time of drafting been drawn  to the matter, as by the officious bystander in the law of contract, would have tersely suppressed the significance of the omission by saying that it was of course very obvious that the omitted matter be included in the provision…We are not of course, at liberty to write into the statute additional words in order to bring about a less surprising or inequitable result, unless the additions are fairly to be implied from the actual terms of the statute.”(emphasis added)

The Supreme Court has decided quite clearly and affirmatively on this matter of filling the gap in Agyei Twum v Attoreney-General & Akwetey[11]. The brief facts of the case are that Mr. Bright Akwetey sought to remove the Chief Justice on grounds of judicial misconduct and abuse of power. It became apparent that although in the case of all Superior Court Justices, the Constitution explicitly provides that as a first step, the establishment of a prima facie case is a sine qua non to the establishment of a committee to investigate the complaint and make recommendations; it does not state so relative to the impeachment of the Chief Justice. The Court unanimously concluded that there was manifest, but inadvertent omission, which must be filled by the importation of the establishment of a prima facie case.

Indeed, long before the determination of this matter, the court Per Lutterodt J(as she then was) in Appiah v Biani[12] read words into the bare or literal letter of PNDCL 111 and held that an uncompleted house is a house within the meaning of PNDCL 111.

From the review of case law thus far, was it reasonably justified for the Court to cloth the Appellant school’s Board of Governors with legal capacity to sustain the action? CAP 114 provided as follows;

4(1) There shall be established a Council to be styled “The Achimota School Council” which shall have entire control of and superintendence over the general policy and property of the School and in all cases provided for by this Ordinance may act in such manner as it deems best to promote the best interest of the School.

5(1) The Council shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal.

(2) The Council may sue and be sued and may acquire, purchase, and hold any moveable and immoveable property…”

As ably canvassed by the 1st Respondent in the case under review, the legal personality of the Board was repealed by the subsequent passage of the Education Act, 1961 (Act 87) which did not save the corporate personality of the Board of Governors, rather, a new Board of Governors of Assisted Schools (inclusive of Achimota School) were deemed to have been established with a corporate existence in very clear and unambiguous terms. In that manner, the school’s property, estate or interest in land were held by or vested in said board. Assisted Institution under section 32 of Act 87 referred to a public secondary school or training college or any other establishment for higher education, which is controlled by a Board of Governors, Committee of Management or any other body performing similar functions under a constitution and rules approved by the Minister and which is approved by the Minister for the receipt of grants-in-aid from public funds. Section 15 of Act 87 provided as follows:

“(1) subject to subsection (4), the minister shall for every assisted institution by notice in the gazette, establish a board of governors to act in accordance with a constitution and rules approved by the minister.

(2) a board of governors established for an assisted institution is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may hold and manage land for the purposes for which it is established, but shall not dispose of that land without the prior written authority of the President.

(3) The constitution and rules approved by the minister shall not be altered, amended, varied, added to or revoked, except with the prior written approval of the minister.

(4) A board of governors or a similar body recognized by the minister in accordance with a provision of an enactment in force at the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to have been established in accordance with this section.”

Indeed, the Minister of Education was equally empowered by Section 16 of Act 87 to dissolve the board of governors of any of the assisted institutions by publishing a notice of the said dissolution in the Gazette.

After the repeal of Act 87 by the Education Act 2008 (Act 778), the corporate existence of the Boards of Governors of the various assisted institutions was stripped away. In fact, the only mention of Board of Governors in Act 778 is in relation to the establishment of private educational institutions as corporate bodies with a governing body as provided in section 23.

It is rather curious that the Law Lords, in spite of the very clear wording of Act 778, construed same to mean the Board of Governors of the school were duly clothed with capacity. It remains a settled rule of statutory construction that to determine the intent of any legislation i.e its true effect, its wording must be read as a whole.

Is it therefore the case that if or should a declaration by the apex Court to the effect that, the Appellant School’s Board of Governors lacked the requisite capacity, such pronouncement could have passed for one of those instances of unconscionability, grossly unfair or unjust decision, even in the face of numerous attempts [as conceded by the Court itself] by the Lands Commission, an agent of state, whose functions included the protection of state property [like that of the appellant school’s] which unsuccessfully set aside the earlier suit in the High Court? Is it the case that even the involvement of the Attorney General, the principal legal advisor to government as a party to the suit in protecting the school’s lands at the High court was insufficient attempt in the eyes of the law lords as to warrant the tenuous conferment of capacity on the School’s Board of Governors in order to re-litigate the matter? What then is the role of the Attorney General relative to article 88 of the Constitution, 1992?

The writer respectfully submits that the failure by the law makers and the draftsman to confer corporate personality on the Board of Governors of Achimota School was deliberate and not an unintentional omission to be filled in by the Court. It is crystal clear and not ambiguous so as not to require any fanciful acts of judicial interpretation. Consequently, the extreme polishing or filling-in to put it bluntly is but sadly, a case that passes for usurpation by the Supreme Court of the role and functions of Parliament. It is tantamount to adding to Act 778 what Parliament never intended. Sadly, it does appear in this particular case under review that, the Supreme Court failed to pay heed to the caution of Professor Kludze JSC (of blessed memory) speaking for the Court in the case of Republic v Fast Track High Court, Accra; Ex Parte Daniel[13] on the interpretation of documents thus;

“…in the area of statutory interpretation, we cannot amend a piece of legislation because we dislike its terms or because we suppose that the law-giver was mistaken or unwise…where the words of a statute are unclear or ambiguous, it is only then that we must try to apply the well-known cannons of construction to enforce the law. Where the words of a statute are clear, our duty is to enforce the statute as written. That is the fundamental rule of constitutional and statutory interpretation. We must not insert our own words or remove from the legislation in order to arrive at a conclusion that we consider desirable or socially acceptable. If we do that, we usurp the legislative function which has been consigned to the legislator.”

The Court of Appeal could not have put it any better when it rejected the invitation of the appellant to be deemed to have been clothed with capacity in the following words;

“CAP 114, since its repeal in 1961 had ceased to be law in order to confer any authority on the Board of Governors that was created under the law. Moreover, another Law, Education Law of 2008, Act 778 has since also repealed Act 87, CAP 114 has since long ceased to exist. Since the Board of Governors was not one of the officers saved upon the repeal of CAP 114, it cannot now resurrect to mount a successful action as is being done in this case.”

It would be recalled that before the Supreme Court, the appellant urged the Court to refer to the explanatory memorandum of Act 778 as an aid to determine its corporate personality even though there certainly was no need for same. Quite surprisingly, the Court pandered to this invitation.

The law is quite settled that a recourse to a memorandum as an aid to interpretation is only sustainable when there exists ambiguity in the subject matter of interpretation, see Section 10(2) of Interpretation Act, 2009 (Act 792). The question here is, whether there really was any latent, patent or even demonstrable mistake or ambiguity in said Act 778 as to necessarily provoke the Court to, in its own words, “think outside our box” in a manner as it did, and in effect, tinkering and or forcibly inserting into Act 778, corporate personality of boards of governors of schools just like the Appellant’s?

The writer submits respectfully that, the Court erred in making an excursion into the said memorandum accompanying the making of Act 778 for purposes of interpretation. Indeed, the results of said excursion rather, in the respectful view of the writer, supported the 1st Respondent’s submissions. Most recently, the Supreme Court speaking through Amegatcher JSC in the case of Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine v A.G[14] declined the invitation by Plaintiff to resort to Parliamentary debates as an aid to interpreting the intent of Parliament relative to the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) by re-echoing this settled practice thus;“…The prerequisites for seeking an aid from Parliamentary debates is where the court considers the language of an enactment to be ambiguous or obscure”.(emphasis added).

The lone but succinct dissentient of Pwamang JSC is, in the respectful opinion of the writer, most apposite when the learned Judge stated;

“The capacity that the plaintiff asserts in this case is based on statute so our function is a simple one of reading and interpreting the statute to ascertain if the legislature intended to confer on the plaintiff the capacity to sue and be sued.” The learned Judge continued “…The plaintiff is unable to point to any statement in the Memorandum that accompanied the Education Bill, 2008 signed by then Minister, Prof Dominic Fobih dated 30th October, 2008, that mentioned boards of governors for existing public second cycle schools such as Achimota.

Indeed, on the Appellants invitation to resort to the explanatory memorandum pursuant to the Interpretation Act as an aid to interpretation, this is what the learned Judge had to say;

“The section says that ‘where a court considers the language of an enactment to be ambiguous or obscure’, then it may take cognizance of the Memorandum. Clearly, the section can only be called in aid where a specific provision of an enactment is being construed and its language is ambiguous or unclear. The plaintiff has not pointed to any provision in Act 778 on the establishment of board of governors that needs to be interpreted and that is ambiguous or obscure.” (emphasis added).

The pronouncement by the Supreme Court in support of the positive finding, as to the corporate personality of Appellant school’s Board of Governors on reliance on a certain accrued right of Appellant, pursuant to Section 34 (1) (c) of Act 792 with respect, is untenable. Quoting the Supreme Court, “the rights acquired by the Plaintiffs in CAP 114 cannot be taken away retrospectively”.

It is trite that, the essence of the presumption against vested rights is to ensure that such accrued rights are not whittled down or taken away unless the legislation in question clearly and specifically contains words which have the effect of taking away such rights, see S.Y. Bimpong – Buta[15]. Indeed, the general common law rule is, when an Act is repealed or expires, lapses or otherwise ceases to have effect; it is regarded, in the absence of a contrary provision, as having never existed except as to past and closed matters or transactions.

It is humbly submitted that there being no express saving provision [in respect of past actions and not future actions] in Act 87 which repealed CAP 114 and Act 778, which subsequently repealed Act 87 on the juristic personality of the Board of Governors, the conclusion arrived at by the Court, with respect is erroneous. Thus, the Court of Appeal stated the correct position of the law relative to section 34 of Act 792 when it opined;

CAP 114 since its repeal in 1961 had ceased to be law in order to confer any authority on the Board of Governors that was created under the law. Moreover, another law, Education Law of 2008, Act 778 has since also repealed Act 87. Indeed at the time of the repeal of Act 87, CAP 114 has since long ceased to exist. Since the Board of Governors was not one of the Officers saved upon the repeal of CAP 114, it cannot now resurrect to mount a successful action as is being done in this case.

From the foregoing, it is respectfully submitted that there was no demonstrable mistake, gap or omission by the draftsman or Parliament in enacting Act 778 which ought to have been corrected by the Court in the manner it did. Indeed, if any revelation was made in furtherance to the Court’s excursion into the said explanatory memorandum, the revelation pointed out to a governmental policy shift from having boards of governors[as it used to be] as the juristic structure, to control second cycle schools in the country in preference for the District Assemblies which ought to be in charge.

The Court clearly fell for the sympathy bait advanced on it by Appellant; this is without prejudice to the unchallenged and revered place Great Achimota School stands within the educational pyramid of Ghana. If the court did not, against all odds, elevate judicial sympathy in this instance, by clothing capacity on the Appellant School’s Board of Governors [in a bid to salvage what was left of its lands courtesy the sloppy defence mounted by the Lands Commission and the belated failed attempts by the Attorney-General], then it is respectfully submitted albeit reluctantly that, perhaps this is one of the instances when the apex Court decided that policy must trump the law.

[1] [2015-2016] 2 SCGLR 1547

[2] [1977] 2 GLR 179,  217: See also Oppong v Attorney General [2000] SCGLR 275, Per Atuguba JSC

[3]Section 34 (1) (c) of Act 792 provides that;“Where an enactment repeals or revokes an enactment, the repeal or revocation shall not, except as in this section otherwise provided (a) affect a right, a privilege, an obligation or a liability acquired, accrued or incurred under the enactment that is repealed or revoked.”

[4]Unreported Suit No. J4/63/2016 delivered on 21st June 2017

[5][2005-2006] SGLR 407

[6] [2005-2006] SCGLR 25

[7] 3rd ed., at page 103

[8][1949] 2 KB 481 at p. 499

[9][1909] AC at p. 23.

[10][2010]SCGLR 484

[11][2005-2006] SCGLR 732

[12][1991] GLR 155

[13] [2003-2004] 1 SCGLR 364 at p. 370

[14]Unreported writ no. J1/05/2018 delivered on 13th may, 2020

[15] The law of Interpretation in Ghana (Exposition & Critique)

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  • Derick Adu-Gyamfi
  • Bobby Banson

    Great article! 

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    Seandy Nutakor 1 day

    Great piece. Well done

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