General News of Monday, 31 July 2017
A private legal practitioner, Nii Kpakpo Samoah Addo has called for the removal of legal fees associated with lawsuits seeking an interpretation of the Constitution.
He argues that the high cost of litigation, particularly involving cases at the Supreme Court discourage people from testing acts of public officers against the provisions of the constitution.
The Rules of Court Committee in March last year bumped up legal fees across the board, with filing fees increased to as much as GHc 500; excluding other fees and charges. But speaking in relation to a possible lawsuit to seek clarity on modalities for the removal of the Electoral Commission’s Chairperson and two deputies, of which petitions in this regard are before the Chief Justice, Mr. Samoah Addo told Citi News, the fees must be scrapped.
“I think that one of the proposals we should do at the Bar is to make constitutional cases free. For the filing fees alone, you would be spending close to almost GHc 700 if you are going without a lawyer. How many people can afford almost GHc 1,000 to go and litigate a constitutional matter in the Supreme Court?”
“But if we made it free, that would actually give life to the constitution where every citizen who feels aggrieved by something will be able to go to the Supreme Court, file your papers so the court will hear your matter.”
As things stand, the lawyer maintained that the charges for litigating constitutional cases are a barrier and “that is why we do not get some of these cases to bring clarity to some of the provisions that we have in the Constitution.”