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The Murmurs of 2012 Election Petition Ruling

slip rule

The 9-member Supreme Court Justices: From top left: Justice Annin-Yeboah, Justice Julius Ansah, Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo, Justice Sophia O. Adinyira. Down Left: Victor Jones Dotse, Justice Rose C. Owusu, Justice Baffoe Bonnie, Justice Nasiru Sulemana Gbadegbe. Middle: Justice William AtugubaThe Murmurs of 2012 Election Petition Ruling

There are ongoing judicial murmurs over the accidental slip of Justice Atuguba on the 29 August 2013 presidential election petition verdict readout. JusticeGhana takes a look at the Supreme Court of Ghana, the Slip Rule and the A-4 Summary Debacle of the Court

Asante Fordjour


From colonial standpoint, the Supreme Court owes its being from the Supreme Court Ordinance (1876) as the apex tribunal for the Gold Coast peoples. [1] As our colonial generations say, in those “old good days”, Appeals from the Supreme Court went to the West African Court of Appeals (WACA) minted in 1866. Ghana backed-off from WACA following self-rule.[2] At the dawn of 24 February 1966 military adventurism, the National Liberation Council (NLC), through the Courts Decree, 1966 (NLCD.84) shredded the Supreme Court and posited judicial power in two-planks of courts- the Superior Court of Judicature and the inferior Courts.[5] Article 102(4) of the 1969 constitution reversed this during the Second Republic.[3] Following the coup d’état of 13 January 1972, the Supreme Court faced yet another hung from National Redemption Council on the premise that the 1969 Constitution had been suspended and so there was no need for a court to “interpret and enforce it”. Its functions were accordingly, bequeathed to the CA. [3] This was again reverted by the 1979 Constitution when the Third Republic was cloned on 24 September 1979. With the 31 December 1981 “holy war” and the proclamation of Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC); is it true that though the court system encountered yes, some hitches on the advent of public tribunals, the image of Supreme Court, had been unblemished? [5]


According to UK’s Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) and Practice Direction (PD) [6], slip rule allows the court to correct clerical mistakes and accidental omissions in judgments and orders at any time on application by a party. In R + V Versicherung AG v Risk Insurance and Reinsurance Solutions SA and others [7], the Queen’s Bench Division (QBD) reaffirmed that the court may at any time correct an accidental slip or omission in a judgment or court order does no more than enable the correction of typographical errors or matters that were genuine slips or mistakes. “It is well established that the rule cannot be used to correct errors of substance, nor in an attempt to add to or detract from the original order made.” The case of Rok Building Limited v Celtic Composting Systems Limited (No.2) [8] reechoed that a Court will not review the correctness of an adjudicator’s decision on enforcement.



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